Testimonials

When you become a member of the Spoke’n Revolutions youth cycling program you’ll lead cross-country bike tours that are always based on history and your personal growth & development.

We think we have an outstanding program. We see small and dramatic changes in everyone that participates; the transformation of character. Each time we witness growth we tear up, smile and think how wonderful you are. Never for a moment thinking about documenting the event by either photo or a note.  The documenting of the moment is much more meaningful coming from you, anyway.

Khin led our 2012 tour out west. The Buffalo Soldiers/Lewis & Clark “Tour of Discovery”. Leaving from Council Bluffs, IA cycling all the way to Crescent City, CA.

Top of her class and always responsible, Ife submitted the first account of her experiences with the Spoke ‘n Revolutions cycling program and the 2011 Underground Railroad “Freedom” tour.

A BRMA Graduation Speech ~ A Testimonial

Kevin Hicks : June 14, 2013 7:15 pm : Testimonial

My name is Khin. I have been in Blue Ribbon for the past eight years. My strengths are creativity, being friendly, and challenging myself. I will be going to Durham Tech and transferring to UNC-CH. I am planning to become a Nurse Anesthetist.

I would first like to begin my speech by thanking my parents because I want to show that I respect them and because they told me to. As their daughter, I may not have always expressed my true emotions but I think this is the right time for them to shine.

Like any immigrant, it was hard for them to adjust to a country where you don’t know the language and the culture is totally different from the one you were raised in. My parents and I may have different experiences but what I appreciate the most about them is their desire to understand me and how difficult it is being an Asian American.

Like any immigrant, it was hard for them to adjust to a country where you don’t know the language and the culture is totally different from the one you were raised in. My parents and I may have different experiences but what I appreciate the most about them is their desire to understand me and how difficult it is being an Asian American. They act flexibly in order to create a better relationship with me. They have worked so hard to get to where they are now and I am truly grateful to be their daughter because they have not only taught me but also showed me that you must work really hard to achieve your goals.

It wasn’t only my parents who taught me those lessons, but Blue Ribbon as well. Having been in Blue Ribbon since the fourth grade, I have learned so much about myself, about others, and about giving back to the community.

About myself, I have learned to be a leader and also a follower. All the opportunities Blue Ribbon have offered and the opportunities that I used to challenge myself have made me the person that I am today.

Of course, these choices were made with guidance from my mentors. My two mentors, Melinda Harder and Kathy Mason, who are here today, leave footprints in my heart.

Melinda Harder, my first mentor, taught me how to bake chocolate chip cookies and even helped me create my very first e-mail account. She is energetic and is the most friendly adult I have ever met. She was always there for me when I needed her, whether it was about something big or something small.

Melinda’s family moved to Portland, Oregon and that’s when I met my second mentor, Kathy Mason. A hardworking lady with great ambitions, she helped me so much with high school and the process of finding and applying to colleges, which overwhelms both of us, but we got through it and learned a lot in the process.

The last person I would like to thanks is Ms.Sue, who created a bike organization called Spoke ‘n Revolutions, which I am involved with Jeimy. As much as I want to tell you more about it, I’ll just summarize the effects it has had on me. Because of Spoke ‘n Rev, I recognized my strengths, weaknesses and realized that I am not alone. Everyone has problems and getting to talk to someone who won’t judge you and knows you very well is truly a blessing and Ms. Sue was that person for me. I thank all of them for being a part of my life.

Anyone can be your mentor, whether it be your parents, your teachers, or just someone that you look up to.Blue Ribbon establishes a system for mentors and mentees to get to learn from each other. The relationship that is built through time is truly a beautiful memory that lives forever.

I want to thank all of Blue Ribbon’s staff members and mentors, who were willing to risk their time in order to change a person’s life, as well as their own. This happened because of Graig Meyer and Lorie Clark and their desire to help minorities in their community succeed.

My advice to the young mentees is to believe in yourself. Be willing to challenge and sacrifice in order to reach your goals. No one can stop you. Love your mentor and treat them with respect just like your parents because you are lucky to have someone who cares about you. When you get to high school, get involved with many clubs, especially the Youth Leadership Insititute club, because I guarantee that you will learn a lot and even have a chance to travel abroad. Take advantage of all the opportunities Blue Ribbon offers. Have excellent grades so you can show off to your friends that you’ve made honor rolls and awarded with cool prizes. Be an active mentee so you’ll get a big check with a big amount like me. Lastly, Blue Ribbon is a program that lets you grow and learn about yourself, about others, and about giving back to the community, just like I did.

That is why I stand here, honored as a Blue Ribbon mentee, a Youth Leadership Institute student, Spoken Revolutions Senior Cyclist, and a proud daughter!

Thank you.

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My Reflection ~ Ife Sangode

Kevin Hicks : June 3, 2013 11:58 am : Ife, Testimonial

a Reflection

If you would have asked me two years prior to going on the UGRR tour if I thought I’d be going on a cycling tour around the south with a group of teens I would have said No. But the summer of 2011, a couple of days after my graduation, 9 youth and 3 adults who I consider to be family, set out early one morning to begin a cycling tour of the Underground Railroad. However I don’t think any of us knew exactly what we were getting ourselves into.

From the minute we arrived at our first destination in Alabama to the time I left the group in Indiana, the tour put both my body and mind to the test and it put many things in perspective for me. I’m sure each of us had different expectations of what we would experience in the deep-south, with most of our expectations being race based. However many of my expectations were shattered and we were met with unconditional support and encouragement from the people we were scheduled to meet as well as the strangers we encountered.

I will never forget the day Suepinda and I were lost with the cyclists riding a couple of miles behind us in Waverly Tennessee. We stopped on the side of the road in front of a house and took out our maps. To our surprise, we looked up into the sky in front of us to see large confederate flags in someone’s yard waving in the wind and a resident of the home watering his lawn and staring at us.

As elementary as it is to say, don’t judge a book by its cover. Don’t judge a person by their appearance and what you think you know to be true. When you allow your false expectations and doubts to interfere with how you interact with others, you miss out on meeting some fantastic people and forming great relationships. When the roles are reversed and someone has false stereotypes or expectations of you but in return you treat them with warmth and kindness, they are often shocked and their perspective altered.

I will never forget the day Suepinda and I were lost with the cyclists riding a couple of miles behind us in Waverly Tennessee. We stopped on the side of the road in front of a house and took out our maps. To our surprise, we looked up into the sky in front of us to see large confederate flags in someone’s yard waving in the wind and a resident of the home watering his lawn and staring at us. To say the least, Sue and I were taken aback, avoided eye contact with the man and minded our business. About five seconds later I look up to see Kevin walking on the man’s lawn, greeting him, asking for directions and engaging in a seemingly friendly conversation. No one knows how the man truly felt or what his expectations were, but it didn’t matter. Kev admirably approached the man with kindness and as a fellow human being who had the ability to help us in our time of need.

 No matter who the person is or what your experience with them is like, you can learn from them. And very seldom do I pass up the opportunity to learn from someone, usually dropping any wild expectations I have of them first.

My belief that a variety of human interactions in life are vital for our development was furthered because of the trip. Human Interactions aid our life’s growth. From the person who rode next to me, slowly conquering hills and encouraging me when I felt like giving up. To the person I met at the Laundromat in Kentucky who opened up to us and was intrigued by what our group was doing. You not only grow personally through these interactions, but you support others in their growth process, sometimes without either of you knowing it. No matter who the person is or what your experience with them is like, you can learn from them. And very seldom do I pass up the opportunity to learn from someone, usually dropping any wild expectations I have of them first. On the tour I made life-long connections with people who are now a part of my extended family. By removing ourselves from our comfort zones and the environments we were used to, each of us brought our individual cultures with us and were able to share them with the people we met, intentionally and unintentionally. In return connections and beautiful relationships were formed.

The UGRR tour wasn’t a one-time experience that I have put behind me. It was a once in a lifetime experience that I am grateful for and have kept very close to my heart, just as I have with all of my experiences with SnR. I don’t go very long without thinking or talking about my experiences that summer in some minute or major way. I hold the memories and lessons that I have learned very close to me.

Sincerely Thankful,

Ife Sangode-Olaitan

June 2013

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