A leap of Faith II – A ride for Depaul Internationa and Depaul USA – The dream of Loralee West (and all you other would be trekkers!)

This trip all started innocently over cocktails and dinner two years ago.  I was intrigued by the trip that Father Vitaliy had made from Ukraine to Poland by motor cycle earlier in the year.  I was envious and wanted to take a bike trip of my own.  Granted—I had never been on a bike in my life but that didn’t matter at all.  Since my Leap of Faith in 2010 had been to do a parachute jump to raise money for Depaul, we came up with the idea of doing a bike ride in 2012, visiting some of the projects along the way and educating my friends and family on just why I am so passionate about helping Depaul in any way I can.

Loralee will be visiting six Depaul projects throughout Ireland and the UK. She will be covering 1,500 miles—all of which (except for the ferry), will be riding a motorcycle!

Follow along on our journey starting June 12th. We will update the Journal daily with pictures and experiences we have had.

Father Vitaliy Novak – Head of Depaul Ukraine and Kerry Anthony – Head of Depaul Ireland, GEAR UP for the trip!

The Depaul projects are different in every city and country.  There are no two alike.  That is what impresses me so much about their mission.  They go into a region and research what the greatest need is for the homeless and work toward making it happen.  In brief—In  Macon, Ga  Depaul has turned a warehouse into a day center for the homeless that will offer medical assistance,  education and job counseling.  The entire religious community in Macon has assisted in making this project a reality.  In Philadelphia, there is a residence that houses 27 men who receive help finishing their education, learning computer skills, and are coached on how to fill out employment applications and go through the interview process.  Families of the men are brought in for counseling where it is appropriate.  They help the men find full time employment and either move back into their homes or find independent housing.  They are all required to perform some sort of volunteer work while they are housed at Depaul.  The newest project in Philadelphia is permanent housing for men and women with complex medical conditions.

In Bratislava Depaul supports a hospice for the homeless.  The men and women are dying and have no one to care for them are able to stay in the home to live out their lives.  Also in Bratislava there is a shelter that provides a bed and two meals a day for 300 men and women.  They come in at 6 PM and leave at 7 AM the next day.    Most of these people walk a great distance to get to the shelter.  In Ukraine Depaul works with an orphanage to provide housing and a two year training program for the children as they graduate high school.  They learn life skills so that they can make their way into the real world!  Depaul also provided assistance in Ukraine to an orphanage for boys and girls who are mentally and physically handicapped.  Some of these “children” are in their late 20’s and 30’s.  This was probably the most difficult project to witness but we came away knowing that Depaul was working to make these severely handicapped young people live their lives  more comfortably.

One of their projects in Ireland that impressed me was a home for women who are released from prison and have no home to go to.  These women are coached in job skills and living life beyond the prison walls.  I could go on and on as there are many more Depaul projects that we will not be visiting on this trip but this gives you an idea of how varied the services are that they provide for people in need.   I feel very strongly that they are making a difference in hundreds of people’s lives.

Two trips to Ireland and the UK, many long hours of planning here at home and we are about ready to kick off the campaign.  Just so you don’t think I am absolutely mad—I will not be driving the bike myself.  I have a very capable driver and there will be 5 bikes following along on the journey.  You can learn about the Team, the route and more about the 6 projects we will be visiting by clicking on the tabs at the top of the home page.  I have had invaluable assistance from Kathy Hondros here in my office as well as Mark McGreevy and Alison Veasey for Depaul UK and Kerry Anthony and Frances McLaughlin for Depaul Ireland.  I get to dream and they make it happen!

My goal is to raise $200K for Depaul International/Depaul USA.  Every donation counts regardless of how small—or large—it is!!  All the cost for the advance trips and this journey are paid for by the participants.  Please follow the journal for daily updates.  We’ll send pictures and share our experiences along the way.  Thank you for considering giving a donation.

Visit their site to follow the journey.

A leap of Faith II

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