It's six months away, but I'm looking forward to riding in Spain for at-risk kids in Madrid
Emerging Madrid crisis and a compassionate response
My friends Josh and Susy Fajardo work amongst the poorest of Madrid's neighbors and neighborhoods. They reach out to children and families suffering in the worst economic crisis in over 40 years.
Poverty in Madrid now rivals levels not experienced since the end of World War II. Spain is experiencing 24.6% unemployment. 15% of Madrid's urban residents are now living in poverty.
But, through Comunidad Cristiana, Josh and Susy and their friends are making a robust, compassionate response.
In addition making food available to unemployed and working Madrid families who strive to make ends meet, Josh and Susy have initiated free after-school tutoring for children who require extra academic help to pass their classes.
What struggling parents cannot afford, the Fajardos and the Free Methodists in Madrid are trying to provide.
With limited resources of their own, Madrid Free Methodists open their ministry center two schooldays a week to elementary and middle school students. Volunteers offer intensive help with math, science and English. High school students are freely offered English classes to improve their placement possibilities. Grades and progress are carefully tracked so that results can be measured and celebrated.
Even on its currently limited scale, this tutoring program is growing in demand by parents and students without the ability to pay. Just as importantly, the after-school program is building community and encouraging many.
“This after school program has helped us establish a presence amongst the neighbors and to let people know that we are available and want to contribute to the community,” says Josh.
Let's support this critical cause
The Madrid Free Methodist after-school program needs to expand in order to respond to more students’ needs more adequately. Strategic planning calls for helping more days of the week, diversifying educational opportunities, addressing challenges of working families, and equipping the ministry center to accommodate long-term goals of the project.
I am inspired to try to inspire others to, along with me, raise awareness and funds to support this worthy and critical cause.
In the midst of growing poverty, the Fajardos and Comunidad Cristiana are offering what they have in service to their neighbors. I want to support that and invite my friends and neighbors to give a little to make a big difference.
Cycling "The Way" for kids in Madrid
Josh has invited me to join him--and to recruit other cyclists---to join him on a 600-kilometer bicycle tour of the Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James) May 9-18, 2013 and to raise awareness and funds for the Madrid After-School Tutoring Ministry. I am honored to join the effort.
I invite friends and neighbors to support the children and families who need this tutoring program. You can support with a donation amount for every kilometer I pedal in May 2013.
For every kilometer I pedal up to 600 km, can you give $1 for the Madrid tutoring program ($600 US)? 50 cents per km ($300)? 25 cents per km ($150)? 10 cents per km ($60)? Whatever you contribute will make a difference for struggling families and children needing educational support in Madrid.
Invitation to cyclists
If you'd like to participate in riding the Camino de Santiago as a cyclist and fundraiser for the after-school tutoring ministry, please contact me--as soon as possible. Space on this international team is limited, but currently open!
We are looking for a full team of people who are (1) willing and able to ride 60+ miles per day, (2) pay your own expenses (approximately $2800 US for travel, lodging, food, costs) and (3) commit to TRY to raise up to $4000 for the after-school tutoring ministry (I'll help you do that).
Contact me: John Franklin Hay firstname.lastname@example.org
Go to my developing event blog Bike Camino 2013 to learn more and track our preparations and journey.