Ann Merrell wanted to combine her love for travel and adventure with her passion for helping others. She combined all of these interests this summer in a 4,003-mile bicycle ride from Rhode Island to California—averaging 70 miles a day. The trip ended on Saturday, Aug. 20. To date, the participants have raised $152,165, in addition to providing physical assistance in rehabbing or building houses for local Habitat for Humanity groups.
Every week during the 73-day trip, the group stopped to work withlocal Habitat for Humanity groups. Bike & Build, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization, has contributed nearly $3 million in eight years through pledges obtained by participants, corporate sponsors, and general donations.
Merrell, a senior from Park Ridge, Illinois, is majoring in Spanish and International Studies and minoring in History. Her biography posted on the Bike & Build web site states: “Throughout my college career I have gotten more and more involved with human rights work through Amnesty International by interning at the Chicago office and leading the Ohio Wesleyan chapter.
Amnesty has taught me a lot about injustices taking place all over the world, but more than anything else, the organization opened my eyes about the human rights violations caused by, and as a consequence of, poverty and a lack of affordable housing. I truly believe that adequate housing is a human right, and this prompted my involvement in Habitat for Humanity in Ohio—and now my desire to spread awareness and assist affordable housing organizations as I bike across the country.”
See the schedule for this trip.