Archive Post from February 27th, 2018
In 2017, we received a unique request from a young man who wanted to volunteer with the Trail Rides program as part of his Bar Mitzvah project. He told us that he was an avid mountain biker and wanted to help share the joy of riding with underserved youth by joining our rides and raising money for the cause. How could we not be impressed?
Over the year, Solomon, along with his mother Allison, joined us on several trail rides and even had a starring role in our Trail Rides film you can see here. His ever-present smile, enthusiasm and mad skills on the bike gave our beginning riders someone their age to look up to and connect with. Additionally, Solomon raised money for us by promoting giving through his Bar Mitzvah invitations and taking a collection after the service.
Part of becoming a Bar Mitzvah is giving a Drash (speech) during the ceremony about your service project, your Mitzvah. Solomon’s Drash was beautifully written and delivered and in it, he gave one of the most heartfelt descriptions of mountain biking and its importance that we’ve ever heard. He reflected on a portion of the Torah known as, Parashat B'shalach. In this text, Moses leads the Jews out of Egypt and away from slavery, as the Pharaoh is chasing after them. Meeting a roadblock, Moses must split the Red Sea to lead the Jews to freedom, but at first, the Jews are hesitant to proceed when they thought their lives were endangered, saying they would rather be slaves than die escaping.
Solomon analyzed why the Jews might have hesitated, preferring slavery over the pursuit of freedom and what it means to be free, both the concepts of having freedom FROM and freedom TO. For Solomon having "freedom from your mind" is most important, and for that reason, he rides bikes.
Here is an excerpt from Solomon's Drash:
I know for me, one of the ways I get freedom from my mind is by mountain biking.
This brings me to my bar Mitzvah project…I decided to volunteer for Trips for Kids, a non-profit, national organization based in San Rafael. Trips for Kids brings underserved kids onto bikes and out into nature. I have helped lead some of their mountain bike rides this past year. I think biking is a fantastic tool that gives the participants freedom from their minds which may be holding stressful things. I believe mountain biking can be used as an outlet to free your mind.
And, biking is sort of like Moses—how he helped the Jews get free from slavery---Just like biking can help free you from stressful thoughts.
Solomon closes by saying:
So, I want to leave you with a feeling of how great it is to feel free!
For me, it is on the bike. But for you, what is that thing that clears your mind? Is it surfing? Playing hoops? Doing something creative? Being with friends? Listening to music?
Do it! Doing something you love can help bring freedom to your mind.
So, think of what makes you free and I invite you to make it part of your day today and every day…
Congratulations Solomon, we are grateful for your dedicated volunteer work and decision to support our organization. We couldn’t be more proud of you and look forward to having you join us on the trail to help others free their minds from the seat of a mountain bike!
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This blog is a gathering of thoughts, media, and insight from a wide range of Trips for Kids Marin Staff.