Archive Post from March 20th, 2018
An Interview with Donor & Volunteer, Leslie Eichenberger
Leslie Eichenberger has been involved with Trips for Kids Marin (TFKM) for 30 years. An avid mountain bike rider, Leslie joined TFKM as a ride volunteer in the late eighties and soon after, started supporting the organization as a donor. Later, she married, now she and her husband Jim are both involved. “We give to Trips for Kids Marin because it provides simple joy for kids,” she said. “As a grassroots, get-it-done organization, we know the money is not being wasted on frivolous projects. Helping Trips for Kids Marin just makes us feel good.” In her work with TFKM, Leslie has led rides, helped with fundraising bike swaps as well as the Earn-a-Bike program. Leslie shared her thoughts about being a long-time volunteer and enthusiastic supporter.
What would you share with anyone considering getting involved with Trips for Kids Marin?
Remember when you were a kid and what a joy it was to learn how to ride a bike and the freedom and the absolute delight that you experienced? That’s what you can give underserved kids today by getting involved with Trips for Kids Marin. It’s simple happiness. It’s that wide grin that comes on a kid’s face -- that pure elation - he or she gets to experience.
It’s especially true for kids that are underserved and don't have bikes. There are many kids who participate with TFKM who have never been outside the City, let alone to Marin. They haven’t ever experienced the rush that comes with being outdoors, the fresh air, the smells and the absolute freedom that being on a bike brings. You can change that by getting involved.
I hope every kid gets to experience that joy, that all-of-a-sudden feeling that you can now go places and you can have independence for the first time. Plus, just being in the wilderness experiencing things for the first time: the smells, the sounds, the physical challenge of exertion and all those sensations, it's just pure fun.
Nature feeds your soul more than anything else can. Especially now with kids being so absorbed in devices, or television, or other things that don’t enrich their lives, that don’t nourish them. Being outdoors can deliver kids to a different place that’s healthy and pure and just good for them.
What would you tell someone who's thinking about donating to Trips for Kids Marin?
It's money well invested. It's not going to be wasted. If you ever saw TFKM’S headquarters, if you saw the office, and if you knew the founder Marilyn Price... thrifty is one word that would come to mind.
There are many worthwhile charities out there to give to, many non-profits that are doing great work. However, carving out a little bit of money for providing a simple joy for underserved kids delivers dividends down the line because the kids are healthier and happier because they've been outdoors.
If you think about your first trip outdoors, your first camping trip, your first bike ride, your first picnic, and how great that made you feel… and now multiply that by the thousands of kids TFKM serves every year, that's how your money is being invested. It’s pure joy.
You Have the Ability to Make Children Smile
If you would like to spread the joy of riding a bicycle with underserved youth in your community, please donate today. If you would like to find out about how to volunteer with Trips for Kids Marin, please read our volunteer page.