Starting on Thursday, June 20, Hoboken Charter School Teacher Maria Bockman, 26, will be spending four days soaking up the greenery of New England pedaling along winding rivers, long stretches of highways and curving country roads as she participates in this year's Northeast AIDS ride.The ride zigzags 350 miles from Bear Mountain New York through Connecticut and Rhode Island and finishes in Boston on Sunday June 24. Bockman will be one of 3,000 riders who raised at least $2,100 each for Pallotta Team Works, a for profit corporation that raises money for national AIDS and breast cancer charities. Since its inception in 2000, the corporation has netted $153 million in donations from over three million donors. In 2002, there are four AIDS Rides across the country, from four to seven days, from 330 to 575 miles.
Bockman, who is going to graduate school to get a masters in social work, decided to participate in the Northeast AIDS Ride after working with children at a foster home is in Jersey City.
"It really affects you when one these foster children tells you that one of their parents died of AIDS," said Bockman. "It really breaks your heart."
Bockman added that preparing for the Northeast AIDS Ride has been an invigorating new life experience. "I've never raised money before and have never biked this far," said Bockman. "It has taken a lot of training, hard work and commitment, but it has also been really rewarding." She said that she has made several friends during training rides and that it has been gratifying to spend time with so many socially conscious, dedicated people.
According to the officials from Pallotta Team Works, approximately 60 percent of all donor dollars go to AIDS related charities. Approximately 19 percent of every dollar goes toward participant safety and support, which includes meals, showers, safety signage and tents. Sixteen percent of the donation goes to event awareness marketing and administrative expenses, and the final 5 percent is for the Pallotta Team Works production fee.
The proceeds from this year's ride will benefit the Fenway Community Health and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center. Fenway Community Health provides compassionate, affordable health care to those who are gay, lesbian and bisexual. According to Fenway officials, last year the service provided nearly 55,000 patient visits. In addition to primary medical and mental health services, Fenway provides out-patient substance abuse counseling and detox services, holistic health services, psychiatric and neuropsychological evaluation and treatment, laboratory services, and nutritional counseling.
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center has been on the cutting edge of responding to the AIDS epidemic. The Center's HIV/AIDS-related programs include youth enrichment services, the center's mediation services program; and the Gender Identity Project, serving the unique HIV-related needs of transgender men and women.
For more information about the Northeast AIDS ride, go to www.bethepeople.com. Donations can be sent to the Hoboken Charter School at 150 Fourth St, Hoboken, 07030. Checks should be made out to "Northeast AIDS Ride."