Hi there! My name is Taylor Arend. Please allow me to share a little about myself. I graduated valedictorian of Maumee High School in 2011 and will graduate with honors from Denison University this May, where I study biochemistry with minors in violin performance and philosophy. I studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark for a semester, spent two summers researching lung cancer at the University of Toledo Medical Center, and spent a few weeks of my winter breaks volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in various cities. I am so excited to begin my medical education at the University Of Toledo College Of Medicine this upcoming August, in hopes of becoming a surgeon.
Let it suffice to say that I have worked hard and lived quite the life for a 21-year-old, and for that I am grateful. But as the product of a liberal arts education, I understand the importance of education outside of a classroom, so this summer, I will be learning about life from the seat of a bicycle while promoting an important cause. This summer I will be giving back to the world with an awesome organization called Bike & Build, which organizes service-oriented cross-country bicycle trips to raise funds and awareness for affordable housing. Yes, you read that correctly—I am going to ride my bike across the country, four thousand (4,000!) miles, from Virginia Beach, VA to Cannon Beach, OR , building houses along the way, all in the name of the affordable housing cause.
Bike & Build has three goals. The first is to raise funds for affordable housing projects, especially those planned and executed by young adults. These funds are funneled to organizations like Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together. The next is to raise awareness for the affordable housing crisis in America among all ages through traditional media outlets, plus town-hall style meetings and informal grassroots interactions in communities along the route and beyond. And the final goal is to foster lifelong learning and leadership through service and civic engagement, thereby empowering young people to do big things physically, mentally, and fiscally.
I am committing my time and energy, my sweat and tears, to make an impact on this world and promote a common goal—to eliminate the affordable housing crisis in America. But before we get much further, allow me to frame the problem for you. The generally accepted standard of affordability considers that a household will spend no more than 30% of income on rent and basic utilities before taxes. Using Ohio as an example, working 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year, a household must earn at least $13.43 per hour to afford fair market rent for a two-bedroom unit. Or in other words, an Ohioan would have to work 70 hours at minimum wage to afford adequate housing (e.g. $698/month in fiscal year 2012). Ohioans are lucky compared to those on the east coast, where housing wages for two-bedroom fair market rent is nearly 25 dollars per hour. However, housing problems are not restricted to cost burden alone. There are also physical problems, such as leaky roofs, unsafe stairs, or lack of hot water, electricity, and/or showers, to name a few. Furthermore, overcrowding, in which the number of people living in the house is greater than the total number of rooms in the house, impacts many people (although it is difficult to measure).
In order to accomplish such an undertaking this summer, I’ll need your help to raise over $4,500! Together, we can end the affordable housing crisis in America. It’s important to remember that your contribution is not just supporting me on a cool summer trip; instead, you are helping to confront the affordable housing problem, to revitalize neighborhoods, and to build healthier families and more secure communities across the country. To do so, go to bikeandbuild.org/donate, find my name in the dropdown menu (“Arend, Taylor (CUS)”), and make a donation through Paypal’s trusted website. Your donation, should you choose to contribute, is tax-deductible, as Bike & Build is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation (EIN 36-4524531; determination letter available upon request).
For more information, go to bikeandbuild.org or visit YouTube for Bike & Build’s grant videos to see previous donations in action. Additionally, there is a “Route Tracker” on the Bike & Build website, which includes daily mileage, host sites, and a link to journal entries that I’ll be posting throughout my adventure. I would also be proud to wear your logo throughout the trip or send postcards along the route to show my appreciation for your financial support. If you have any questions, concerns, or life advice, I’d love to chat! Don’t hesitate to contact me by any method listed below.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
1142 Westfield Dr.
Maumee, OH 43537
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