Rachel Fitz (teal helmet) started Rachel’s Ride for Rwanda four years ago. The latest ride was held on the Fort-to-Fort Trail in Fort Langley Saturday morning, attracting 57 cyclists and raising $18,000 to help educate children in Rwanda.(Caleb Gautama photo)

Cycle through Fort Langley trails pays dividends for Rwandan kids

Rachel Fitz, founder of Rachel’s Ride for Rwanda, raised $25,700 for schools in Africa Saturday.

Carter Job of Langley wasn’t the youngest participant in this year’s Rachel’s Ride for Rwanda, but he was the only one making the trek on a strider bike.

The three-year-old Walnut Grove youngster was joined by his parents, Chelsea and Zac, as well as his 15-month-old sister Lilja (who was towed in a bicycle trailer), in the fourth annual charity ride through Fort Langley’s Derby Reach Regional Park and Fort-to-Fort Trails Saturday morning.

Their family learned about the ride through the North Langley Community Church, and were interested immediately. Not only was it a worthy cause, but it spoke to Carter’s love of biking.

The Job family was among 57 registered bikers signed up for the event which raises money for the Wellspring Foundation for Education – a Langley-based non-profit organization that endeavours to bring quality education to children in Rwanda, explained ride organizer Kristie Voth.

Voth introduced event namesake and founder Rachel Fitz, explaining how inspired she is by this young woman’s will and determination to help others.

At the age of 11, Rachel and her parents Katherine and Mark Fitz returned home to Surrey after a three-year stint teaching in the East African country.

“I’d see how schools there… kids didn’t have their own desks, they didn’t have anything decorating their classroom. They basically have nothing compared to the computers and gyms and everything we have here,” the 15-year-old told the Langley Advance.

“I really wanted to help them and take part in supporting their education. So, I started Rachel’s Ride for Rwanda, and I think we’ve raised close to $60,000…”

This ride was started by Rachel Fitz in 2014 with her goal to engage other B.C. children in helping Rwandan children receive a great education.

To her, the objective was clear and her goal simple.

As her father recounted, they were hoping to get 50 riders and raise $5,000 that first year. They came up short on riders with only eight cyclists showing up. But between them, they raised $5,600 and Fitzes were thrilled.

This year’s event tied with the highest number of riders (57) two years ago. But this year, they surpassed any past fundraising targets.

With $25,708 raised to date, and more donations still coming in, Mark Fitz said: We’re just so excited about it. It’s incredible.”

Rachel added: “I am so pleased with how well we did and want to thank each and every person who helped make the ride possible.”

Voth chimed in, too: “Wow, what a day; 57 riders, over $25,000 raised and counting, and one bright and brilliant sun shining down on us as we laughed and biked and changed the world.”

While plans are already being tossed around for the 2018 ride, Rachel and her parents are also planning a return trip to Rwanda. They’re hoping to go next spring, to see first hand what a difference Rachel’s idea and her efforts have made in the lives of hundreds of Third World children.

• Video to come

 

Carter Job, three, kept his strider bike cool ahead of the 5.5-km ride he and his family did as part of Rachel’s Ride for Rwanda. Meanwhile, his 15-month-old sister, Lilja, checked out some of the bikes from the ground level. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance)

Carter Job, three, kept his strider bike cool ahead of the 5.5-km ride he and his family did as part of Rachel’s Ride for Rwanda. Meanwhile, his 15-month-old sister, Lilja, checked out some of the bikes from the ground level. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance)