By Kaitlin Rogers
Today I get to introduce myself as one of the RIDETZ riders. Over the past two years I have had the joy of getting to know The Foundation For Tomorrow, and I have RIDETZ to thank for that. It is amazing to think that if it weren’t for that 400 mile bike ride in 2010 I may not even know about this organization that has since become my whole world. I don’t even want to think about that :) You can see my responses to the interview questions below.
1) Where are you from?
I am from Lake Bluff, a northern suburb of Chicago that I lovingly refer to as my favorite place in the world. I do believe that this tiny town where I grew up surrounded by family is an extremely special place.
2) What do you do for work?
I work for The Foundation For Tomorrow. A few weeks into my new job, I shared with my family that I couldn’t fall asleep at night because I was so excited to wake up in the morning to get to work. Perturbed, my youngest sister Maggie rolled her eyes and declared that that was just not normal. I may be annoyingly excited about my job, but I cannot imagine waking up in the morning with a more meaningful sense of purpose.
3) What do you like to do on your spare time?
I love being with my family and friends. I also love photography, and I still do some freelance work (I left my job at a photography studio to work for TFFT). Yoga keeps me sane, and I can get lost in a stationary store for hours.
4) Who is your inspiration in life?
I was lucky to grow up with many wonderful role models and mentors. My parents’ unconditional love and support has instilled in me a sense of confidence and the ambition to follow my heart. I’m not sure that one person has been my inspiration, but I know that I am inspired every time I see someone working for something they believe in.
The way my sister Maggie dances inspires me. The way my sister Caroline is working so hard to become a physical therapist inspires me. My friends who wake up every day and teach a classroom full of students through Teach For America inspire me. The way nothing gets in between Marc and some time on the ice to play hockey inspires me. Getting to work beside Meghann every day inspires me. I believe in surrounding myself with people who work hard for their goals. I think that is the best source of inspiration.
5) How did you hear about RIDETZ?
My senior year of college I was working for Tamara Lackey Photography. I had spent two previous summers working in Tanzania through a Duke Engage program called Literacy Through Photography. I was planning to return for a third summer when Meghann contacted Tamara in search of a photographer for RIDETZ 2010. I was already planning to be in Tanzania during the ride, and accepting this unique photography opportunity was a no-brainer.
6) What inspired you to want to ride this June?
While I was along for the first RIDETZ experience, I never actually got on a bike! I traveled by safari car as I documented the riders’ experience with my camera. I did feel kind of guilty, though, as I jumped around fresh faced and sat relaxed in the van while the riders expended every bit of energy they had and then some. It was the riders’ perseverance that inspired my desire to tackle RIDETZ. Watching them conquer this amazing challenge made me desperately want the same sense of achievement. My boyfriend Marc agreed to join me for the adventure, and that sealed the deal.
7) Are you celebrating any milestone with RIDETZ?
I’m not celebrating any milestone, but I’m celebrating an incredible cause, a beautiful country, and the fact that I’m able to take on this endeavor.
8) What is your favorite place to ride? (besides Tanzania that is)
Hmm… spin class or anyplace with a bike path… all this street riding in Charlotte gets me nervous. Navigating the Tanzanian terrain should be—err—interesting. Let’s just say that I’m in this for the cause and the experience, biking is not exactly my forte.
9) What kind of bike do you train on? Does it have a name?
So far my white Diamondback has done the trick.
10) What unique ways are you planning on spreading the awareness for what you are doing and fundraising?
I am planning to use my photography as a fundraising tool. I’m going to offer some donation sessions in Charlotte in addition to reaching out to family and friends for support. To support my fundraising efforts, please visit my fundraising page.