Here it is two-thirty am Sunday morning and I am not sure if it is all the “Writer’s Quote’s” I have read lately that say, and I’m paraphrasing here, “don’t wait to write when inspiration fires you up to write, you won’t re-find the passion later”, or if yesterday’s coffee’s were consumed too late in the day or if perhaps… there is some other force at work here?
Regardless I am up and have booted the laptop in the wee hours to tell you that I participated, (in a small way) in an event the Company I work for hosts each year, (since 1986) called “The Valley Friendship Tour”. This is a once a year outreach into the community billed as a “Non-Competitive Road Race” , which in my mind, first sounded like an oxymoron.
In an age where it seems many are chasing after “Glory” or in some way, taking shots at “Old Glory”, my behind the scenes perspective of this event allowed me to see the countless hours of work and coordinated, collaborated effort focused on joining the community with a marginalized segment of our population. This company “Alternatives Unlimited Inc.” is a human services agency that serves over two thousand people each month who are impacted by psychiatric or developmental disabilities. The vision “Real Homes, Real Jobs, Real Relationships” isn’t some last-minute tag line tossed out as an after thought after a late night board meeting, but is truly a driving force compelling an organized group of compassionate people to always be looking for ways to take down the old walls of misunderstanding between people of varying abilities.
But I digress, back to non-competitive road races. As mentioned earlier, initially this term sounded like an oxymoron to me.
Hundreds of people raising sponsorship money in various amounts and ways to participate in a road race where no one really comes in first, second or any position typically assigned the winner of a race… seemed to lose not only its definition as “a race”, but also it’s allure to participate.
But, as I watched hundreds of volunteers and participants come together yesterday, I realized pieces of this agencies vision, indeed it’s very heart, were coming to fruition right before my eyes. The individual glory of claiming a prize had been cast aside and traded for a collective win…
If you have giving you like to do each year, or at times when you feel compelled to participate in a cause you find worthy, I would be most honored if you would consider Alternatives Unlimited Inc. one of those places you thought worthy of your attention. You can go to the company webpage and follow the links to participate financially or in other ways perhaps as a mentor or volunteer. www.alternativesnet.org