Teacher Peddles Around the World to Help Foster Care Kids

As a substitute teacher, Christine “Chris” Farrugia always rode her bike to her school site. At age 56, she has decided to peddle just a little farther to raise awareness of the needs of vulnerable children. Beginning December 1, Chris will kick off her one-year ride around the world in front of Hillsides.

I met Chris when she came to tour Hillsides and explain to us what she wanted to do. Chris explained that after her parents and brother died in a car accident, she felt alone and was left with a desire to do something to make a difference. She thought about how foster children or orphans must feel when they are no longer with family, which is how she decided to raise money for organizations that offer services to children in need.  Through Chris’ family tragedy, she believed that ordinary people do extraordinary things every day even after they have walked through situations or ride through storms. Unfortunate events test our human spirit.

So many of the vulnerable children and families we serve have experienced trauma, in one form or another. Their human spirit is tested and sometimes feel they are alone. They don’t know what steps to take and don’t know who to turn to. When they come to Hillsides or we reach out to families, our staff provides the quality care, expertise and talent to strengthen their spirit. Volunteers take their time and talents to give generously through hands-on activities, mentoring or funds to help us restore hope in their lives.
It’s a simple message from Chris: If you have a passion or a talent, no matter the circumstance, you could do something to make a difference. Just get out there and do it. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. And that’s exactly what she’s doing and I have seen our staff, volunteers and donor community put one foot in front of the other.
Although the journey can appear daunting, Chris’ positive energy, enthusiasm and commitment are infectious. I am excited to have been chosen as the charity in America to join Chris on her journey. She is funding the world cycling tour with her inheritance and welcomes sponsors to host her campground stays, weather permitted, or hotel accommodations. Eighty-five percent of the proceeds from the ride will raise funds for Hillsides and Good Shepherd Centre Orphanage in Zimbabwe, Africa, the other charity she has chosen.
On her recent visit to Hillsides, Chris explained the mission of Project Miracle Co, the charity she established to raise funds for other deserving children’s charities. “I wanted to help the wheels that were already in motion.” While touring our campus, Chris said, “I feel this is the right place to do this—like I’m home.”
Like Chris, I believe Hillsides is the right place to volunteer, do something, and help the most vulnerable in our community.

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