Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Students Ride to Fight Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is the illegal trade of  people for forced labor or sexual exploitation. Vol State students took a stand against human trafficking by participating in a fundraising bike ride last weekend. Jamie Blurton organized the trip and found plenty of support from her friends. This is her blog from the trip:

Sitting here tonight, it doesn't feel real. Two months ago, in my bed around midnight I read the endslaverytn.org newsletter. A banner on the side displayed this RIDE for refuge. I went to the website and read about it. I didn't think about how I would get there, if I had plans, the costs, if I could even survive to ride that far...nothing. I just signed up to RIDE 30 miles to ride on behalf of the abolitionists in Tennessee! Once school started training wasn't so easy. Two of my friends and VSCC students Brittany Bertoli and Kayla Barbee said they would come help volunteer at the RIDE. Andrew Campbell, another VSCC student and ambassador decided he wanted to RIDE 30 miles for slavery with me! Andrew was waking up early before classes to train and I fit it in between classes when I could. We were only able to RIDE together once before the actual RIDE.

We left after Andrew's anatomy class on Friday and got into Chicago around midnight. 4 a.m.came fast but we all got up with smiles ready for the big day. I expected to be nervous because I had yet to make it 30 miles; but with Andrew's constant motivating words I wasn't worried at all that morning. We dropped Brittany and Kayla off at a church in Geneva/Chicago and they were taken about 20 miles out to stay at an area where they had water, bananas, and port a potties!

Andrew and I were released at 8 a.m.to start the RIDE. We were not expecting it to be so windy for sure, our toes and faces were frozen about halfway in! We met amazing people along the way, as the riders caught up with each other. The scenery was beautiful: fields of corn, wheat and hundreds of geese! That last half mile we had to go up a pretty steep hill but Andrew said we wouldn't stop now! We reached the finish line, dropped our bikes and ran to each other for a big hug and scream that "We did it!" I was on the break of tears for the next 15 minutes, I don't know if it was the throbbing in my legs or the excitement of what we had just accomplished! As intense as it was, we had each other's company and we reminded each other of why we were doing this. For the victims of modern day slavery and what this meant for them. Most of all, this was nothing next to what they endure. We are all proud to have had this experience. Brittany is going to start training to RIDE 30 miles next year! Andrew and I have our goals set for 60 miles and we hope to bring the RIDE for Refuge here to Nashville. We have a lot of riders here and a lot of good people who would want to support End Slavery TN and International Teams.

Thank you again to all of my support and sponsors! I was the 11th top fundraiser in Chicago!

-Jamie Blurton

For more information about human trafficking visit: http://www.humantrafficking.org/
For more information about the ride visit: http://www.rideforrefuge.org/

Volunteer State Community College

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