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Thank you!

30/07/2010 Leave a comment

The fundraising is coming to an end, and I feel I have to thank everyone who has made this possible. Not a thank you from me, but from all the children who will benefit from your help.

Stuart MacLean
Where to begin? I don’t even know. This guy has gone out of his way to help out with the fundraising. Countless hours have been spent with me being oh so blond and not understanding html codes, how to use photoshop properly, changing blogs, listening to all my frustrations and joys of this journey, and so much more. And all this whilst doing his own fundraising and training for a 24 hours ride from London to Paris for Scope (which he finished in 23 hours 40 minutes!). He’s become one of my very best and closest friends through this, and I’m looking forward to the future charity projects we’ve been discussing, and sincerely hope I get to be a part of them. Thank you Stuart, I would not have been able to do this without you.

Will Bennett – Right To Play UK
Will got in touch with me when I first started out the fundraising. He’s arranged cycling challenges to raise funds for Right To Play, the latest from Brussels – London, and also works closely with Team HTC-Columbia. He’s given me a lot of advice and support throughout, and also a lot of great ideas. He even surprised me with a signed 2009 Team Highroad jersey for the fundraising.

Kristy Scrymgeour – Team HTC-Columbia
In the middle of the Tour de France Kristy has on several occasions helped me out and got the guys on the team to sign jerseys. She’s also helped with promoting the auctions, which have most definitely helped raise a lot more money than it would have without her help. A huge thank you for all your efforts and all your help.

Ellen Cohune – Team HTC-Columbia
Ellen was the first person to help me out with the auctions. She sent me a signed jersey and got me in touch with Kristy to also get it signed by the Tour de France team. In addition to that she’s helped promote the auctions and given me support and advice.

Will Frischkorn & Andrea Bisogno – Team Garmin-Transitions
These two guys went out of their way to get a jersey signed for the auctions, not just once, but twice. It did at one point “unfortunately” lead me to the team hotel without either of the guys or the jersey being there, but I really didn’t mind hanging out with the mechanics for a while. Thank you both!

Also a huge thanks to all of these:

Bryan Smith, Jonathan Vaughters & Toby Watson – Team Garmin-Transitions
For getting me in touch with the right people and giving me the best ending to the 2010 Tour de France at the POM After Party.

Sean Weide, Ian Sherburne & George Hincapie – BMC Racing Team
For sorting out the signing of the print and the picture to promote the auction!

Kristof Ramon – professional cycling photographer
For donating the print of the amazing photograph of George Hincapie and promoting the fundraising.

Koos Moerenhout – Rabobank
For helping me getting the jersey signed and getting it back to me once it got a bit lost!

Ted King– Cervèlo TestTeam
For donating his very fashionable socks for the auction, taking the time to do an absolutely amazing interview and promoting the fundraising.

Joao Correia – Cervèlo TestTeam
For donating items, telling other team mates about the fundraising and having them donating items as well, taking the time to do a fantastic interview and helping me out in Paris.

Carlos Sastre – Cervèlo TestTeam
For donating great items for the fundraising auctions.

Thor Hushovd – Cervèlo TestTeam
For donating the jersey he wore when he won the Norwegian National Championship for the auctions.

Karin Løkke – involved with all the Norwegian riders fan clubs
For donating the t-shirts, helping me promote the fundraising and introducing me to Thor Hushovd.

Ricardo Van Der Velde – Team Garmin-Transitions
For donating his signed jersey.

Steven Cozza & Scott Cozza – Team Garmin-Transitions
For donating a signed jersey & t-shirt to the fundraising auction, taking the time to do an interview, and in general helping me out.

Kristian House – Rapha Condor Sharp
For taking the time to do a fantastic interview and donating no less than two jerseys and a gillet for the auctions, and promoting the fundraising.

Michel Van Keulen and the rest of Right To Play NL
For donating 4 jerseys for the fundraising.

Gro Eide and the rest of Right To Play Norway
For continuous advice and support.

Mark Cavendish – Team HTC-Columbia
For promoting auctions and subsequently helping me raise a lot more money for Right To Play.

Ole Kristian Stoltenberg – Eurosport Norway
For promoting the fundraising to the Eurosport viewers during Giro d’Italia and Tour de France.

Joe & Dave Wilson
For interview and donating the t-shirt for auction.

The guys riding the Tour de France for Team HTC-Columbia, Team Garmin-Transitions and Rabobank
For taking the time to sign the jerseys.

All the riders who took the time to do interviews for the ‘Rider Of The Week’ feature on my blog:
– Stijn Vandenbergh (Katusha)
– Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Columbia)
– Kurt Asle Arvesen (Team Sky)
– Svein Erik Vold (Joker Bianchi)
– Jonny Bellis (Saxo Bank)
– Ingar Stokstad (Joker Bianchi)

And last, but not least, thank you to everyone who’s helped me promote the fundraising by tweeting and publishing on Facebook!

MAKE A BID – MAKE A DIFFERENCE

17/06/2010 Leave a comment

Right To Play currently have 12,500 coaches in the field and are helping 720,000 children.

100% of the proceeds of the auctions go to Right To Play, and in 2007 87% of all funds raised went directly to the field.

You can make a difference by bidding, and hopefully winning, on items on eBay. Check out the auctions album and stay tuned for more items being added. The main fundraising is now, so there will be a lot of good stuff to bid on!

And it doesn’t have to cost a lot to help:

£15 / €18 / $22 – can pay for a child to attend our programmes twice a week for a whole year.

£15 / €18 / $22 – can contribute towards coach training in HIV/AIDS education, holistic child development or peace building.

£25 / €30 / $36 – can provide and deliver peace games to a children’s school.

£50 / €60 / $73 – can contribute towards a community Play Day.

£125 / €150 / $180 – can help stage an immunisation campaign in support of national health priorities.


Right To Play in Lebanon

21/04/2010 Leave a comment

Lebanon endured a civil war from 1975 – 1990. To this day there are still conflicts, which leads to violence and political unrest, leaving children and youth particularly at risk. Most of these children have been born and raised in a war zone and/or refugee camp.
However, the majority of children still feel that they can improve their own lives by going to school and developing personally and socially. No matter how hard their lives are, they continue to channel their energy through positive, constructive and non-violent activities.
Schools have become of major importance as a social arena as well as educational. Most children in these circumstances do not feel safe and are scared of attacks and violence. A study shows that almost half of Palestinian children have personally experienced violence due to the ongoing conflict or have witnessed such violence being inflicted on an immediate family member. Nine out of ten parents have reported symptomatic traumatic behaviour amongst their children. This is ranging from nightmares and bedwetting, increased aggressiveness and hyperactivity, as well as a decrease in attention span and concentration capacity. A small number of children have also become fixated on thoughts of death and revenge. Although this is generally accepted as a “normal response” to a stressful environment. Parents don’t feel that it is safe for their children to leave the house, and most don’t encourage this except for going to school, which makes it difficult for children to meet in non-formal and social gatherings. This is obviously frustrating for children, as they are in need of opportunities to enjoy and express themselves, and how to deal with the situation by sharing their views with other children.
Teachers say that the students achievements improve when they are allowed to carry out physical exercise and art, and when they are allowed to confront and deal with their emotions in the context of classroom activities. In the same study as mentioned above, they came up with solutions on how to help children and their caregivers cope with daily stresses and dangers, and in that way helping children develop effective resilience in the face of negative life events. One of three major suggestions was this:

“Programs should be introduced that attempt as much as possible to re-establish a sense of
“normalcy” in the lives of Palestinian children by providing them with greater opportunities to participate in on-going recreational/ cultural/sport and other non-formal activities. Support should be extended to existing community-based initiatives that seek to provide such opportunities.”

And this is exactly what Right To Play does in Lebanon. They have been present since May 2006 and provide critical learning opportunities, psychosocial support and leadership development for Lebanese and Palestinian children and youth traumatized by conflict, poverty and displacement. Initiatives that provide psychosocial support and promote gender inclusion and positive leadership are desperately needed for peace and development in the longer term.

Conflict in the summer of 2006 and 2007 resulted in the destruction of hundreds of schools and community centres, and the displacement of thousands of people. In response to the needs of the displaced, Right To Play helped children experience a sense of normalcy by holding sport and play activities with internally displaced communities and children and youth living in displacement centres, public parks and temporary shelters. Partnerships that were established with local and international organizations during these times of crisis are continuing.
Right To Play’s intervention in Lebanon focuses on providing psychosocial support activities and increasing awareness of healthy lifestyle behaviours through training in, and implementation of, sport and play programs designed with these objectives in mind. Right To Play promotes youth engagement in target beneficiary communities in Lebanon by encouraging youth leadership, empowerment, decision-making and problem solving within the context of their own communities.
The Right To Play project in Lebanon also promotes awareness of child rights and provides opportunities for community capacity building to ensure a safer and healthier environment for the children and youth of Lebanon.


Right To Play – Lebanon

Source

Right To Play’s mission

21/04/2010 Leave a comment

“To improve the lives of children in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world by using the power of sport and play for development, health and peace.”

Right To Play ambassador Leigh Howard of team HTC-Columbia wearing his BikePure wristband. photo copyright http://www.jxpphotography.com.au

I’m quite obviously a dedicated cycling fan, and I’m also a dedicated supporter. Cycling and doping seem to have gone hand in hand for years, but luckily this is changing now thanks to more and better testing, but also thanks to BikePurecyclists who go out there and speak out for and support a clean sport. At the same time we have a lot of riders returning to the sport after being banned for a period of time. What does this say about the sport? Which signals does this send to children? Some children would probably think; “Hey, I can be a pro-cyclist, and I can be the best if I dope. If I get caught I’ll just have a ban and then be welcomed back with open arms as long as I pretend to regret it.” Which is actually the case as I see it.
Now, there are not only children living in Europe or America that have hopes and dreams of maybe one day becoming a pro-cyclist. Recently there was a story in ProCycling about the Tour of Rwanda. It was very inspiring reading! To get to know more about how these riders have been fighting through war and poverty, and are now able to do what they love. They see hope and possibilities in their sport. They see hope for the future. These are role models to children living in Rwanda. And these children live in a completely different world from what we know.
Right To Play have several projects in Rwanda. Encouraging kids to attend school and get an education, teaching them about health, about building bridges and creating peace. Giving them the possibilities to make their dreams come true. Maybe one of these kids watched a stage of the Tour of Rwanda and is now dreaming about becoming a cyclist?
You might be thinking; ‘What does this have to do with doping?’Well as I see it, sport is a very important part of life for many people around the world. We get together and cheer for our country, our favourite team or favourite rider. It creates a unity.Doping is damaging for any sport. Instead of the unity and joy we should feel, it divides the sport and there is a lot of negativity around it. This again can damage the image of the sport (which has been the case in cycling), which can lead to crushed hopes and dreams for children all around the world. And with sport becoming something negative, the power of sport and play is weakened. It’s no longer a case of working hard to achieve something; it’s a case of cheating your way to stardom. With this happening, maybe less children dream about becoming an athlete?This might seem extreme to many, but is it really that far from reality? There are a lot of people that don’t support sports anymore because of doping scandals that have taken the purity of the game away. It’s not fun anymore.
As a professional athlete you have a lot of responsibilities. You become a role model, like it or not, to many. If you choose to dope, you’re not just risking your own health and career, you’re taking something away from your fans. It’s not all about you.

Originally posted: 21 February 2010

Twenty years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

21/04/2010 Leave a comment

Johann Olav Koss is a four-time Olympic gold medalist in speed skating. The recipient of numerous athletic awards from his home country of Norway and the international community, Johann is considered one of the greatest speed skaters in the sport’s history. Following the 1994 Lillehammer Olympic games, Johann dedicated himself to developing Right To Play into an internationally-recognized non-profit organization and a leader in sport for development.

http://www.unicef.org/rightsite/364_592.htm

Here he talks about Right To Play, and the importance of sport and play in a childs development. Hope you can all take the time to read this post on Unicef’s website!

Originally posted: 1 January 2010

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When children PLAY, the world wins!

21/04/2010 Leave a comment

As you all know, we want to raise awareness and funds for Right To Play. So I thought I would put this on the blog for you all to read. There are already links to their website, but I have  feeling not everyone actually know about all the amazing things Right To Play does!

Right To Play’s work in Sierra Leone

“Right To Play is an international humanitarian organization that uses sport and play programs to improve health, develop life skills, and foster peace for children and communities in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world. Working in both the humanitarian and development context, Right To Play trains local community leaders as Coaches to deliver its programs in countries affected by war, poverty, and disease in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and South America.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child guides our work. Right To Play programs target the most marginalized including girls, people living with disability, children affected by HIV and AIDS, street children, former child combatants and refugees.


Right To Play is supported by an international team of top athletes from more than 40 countries. As role models, these athletes inspire children, raise awareness and promote opportunities for funding for Right To Play programs.”

Cooperation (we put teamwork and fair play first)
H
ope (we help make dreams possible)
I
ntegrity (our actions reflect our values, vision and mission)
L
eadership (we teach leadership by demonstrating it in our communities)
D
edication (we are dedicated to working with our communities)
Respect (we respect each other)
Enthusiasm (we have fun)
Nurture (we encourage each other with positive feedback)

Vision
Our vision is to create a healthier and safer world through the power of sport and play.

Mission
To improve the lives of children in the most disadvantaged areas of the world by using the power of sport and play for development, health and peace.

This is taken from Right To Play’s website!

Originally posted: 13 September 2009