Woodward, Okla. —
By Rowynn Ricks
A local college student will be cycling across the country this summer in an effort to help others across the globe.
LeAnn Yadon, 21, along with several other adventure-seeking volunteers, will make an 8-week bike trek from Seattle to New York City to help support the efforts of the international humanitarian organization Venture Expeditions.
ABOUT VENTURE EXPEDITIONS
"They do runs and biking expeditions and hiking expeditions to raise awareness and funds for their missions in Southeast Asia," Yadon said of Venture Expeditions.
Essentially, she said, "the biking trip is a publicity thing, where we'll have the opportunity to stop and talk at communities along the way about the Venture Expeditions' mission."
Yadon said this mission includes sponsoring community centers in Thailand and Burma, where the poor and victims of violence can go to seek assistance.
"They help provide them with food, school supplies, and just whatever needs these people may have," she said.
According to the Venture Expeditions website, ventureexpeditions.org, the organization also partners with other agencies such as Convoy of Hope, Blood:Water Mission, and International Justice Mission, supporting their programs to offer additional assistance to those in need in Southeast Asia.
In addition, Yadon said that Venture "sends missionaries into these areas, because it is a gospel-based program, so they do share the gospel with those they help."
MAKING A SACRIFICE
Yadon said she appreciates the unique way that Venture Expeditions promotes its humanitarian efforts through programs like the cross-country bike trek.
"I think they have such a great outlook on how to raise awareness of their mission," she said. "Because it's actively giving of yourself. You're not just giving money, but you're getting out and doing something. I really think I just love the active aspect of it."
But when it comes to making an approximately 3,200 mile journey by bicycle, Yadon said it is even more than just taking action. It's making a sacrifice.
"I'm really drawn to the challenge. Because biking across America is really daunting. But I like how it is part of their mission to ask us to physically sacrifice ourselves as we try to help people in Thailand, who are facing even greater struggles on a daily basis," she said.
Those struggles include everything from hunger and "unsanitary housing conditions" to domestic violence and human trafficking, she said.
"So for me to bike across America, I think that's such a small feat compared to what they go through every day," Yadon said.
And it is in thinking about those who her journey will help that she finds her inspiration for taking on the long and daunting bike ride.
"It's a lot more motivating to know I'm doing this for someone else," she said.