One gear, one goal

I am Mary Maroon. Today I am a bike racer and college student defying everything about how I was raised. Cycling has allowed me to challenge my beliefs about who I could be. I want to continue to be challenged and help kids who are growing up they way I did, feel inspired, capable and equal.

This is a campaign to raise awareness of homelessness in the youth population, to learn & share what I learn about how the most effected states in the US handle youth homelessness, and to connect with kids who are experiencing homelessness.

One gear, one goal. The path to Single Speed Cyclocross Nationals will be taken through 3 States with the highest homeless populations in America. From California, which ranks number one with 22% of it's residents being homeless, to New York in second place with 16%, and Nevada in fourth (United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, 2016).

There are a lot of places to race cyclocross but some of them have something important in common. Homelessness is especially dangerous in youth populations. Children with homeless parents may be put through the foster care system which can lead to developmental challenges. Or worse, they can end up in trafficing circles with no hope for living a life outside of prostitution, drug abuse, or suicide.

I have a 30 day fundraising goal of $7000 to cover expenses that will allow me to use the next 6 months to meet experts in other part of the country and learn about their challenges, ideas, and solutions between races. It will allow me to connect with kids, share stories, and encourage hope & happiness. I will be racing and all prize money I earn will be donated to the communities I earn it in.

In California, my charity is the Mustard Seed School. In New York I plan to visit the Compass House, and in Nevada, the Nevada Youth Empowerment Project.

The Mustard Seed School of Sacramento, is an emergency school for homeless children. Mustard Seed School closes an educational gap so children can transition back to regular school when the time comes. Consistency in education is important for social development as well as intellectual development. My teachers were frequently the only ones who could exemplify what it meant to be a healthy, caring adult. If it were not for my elementary and junior high school teachers, I would never have had a chance to succeed. When all else was crumbling, I could count on school and my teachers to be a beacon. Children need education. Children need teachers they can trust. Homeless children and at risk children need this more than anyone. The Compass House in Buffalo, NY works to support and guide youth in taking steps that will empower them in the decision making process. Homeless youth have a unique sense of autonomy and Compass House respects their developmental process while connecting them with resources. The Compass House is also located near the Canadian/US boarder which can shed light on international issues with the homeless youth population. The Nevada Youth Empowerment Project helps young women retain housing, develop employable skills, and work to finish their education. These are three very different programs meeting different needs and serving different populations. Learning their approaches can help us better understand the problem.

As a human, I am part of a greater group and I am responsible to all the people around me. As an athlete, I have unique opportunity to exercise this responsibility and be a role model for homeless & at risk youth and to help solve a global problem with education.

Your donation not only accomplishes this immediate goal but is an investment that will have lasting effects. Your donation allows me to work to help young people find strength as they push forward into adulthood. You donation means I can raise awareness with this national campaign and make financial contributions with my prize earnings. Your donation is so deeply appreciated. Thanks for joining me. You can follow the story here Mary Maroon

*United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. (2016). State Data and Contacts Map. Retrieved from action/map/#fn[]=140 0&fn[]=3100&fn[]=6300&fn[]=10400&fn[]=1 3200&al l_types=true&year=2016


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Mary Maroon 
Emeryville, CA
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