On September 15, two recent college graduates will depart on a 14-month-long cycling trip to promote mental health management and foster community volunteerism.
Dylan Peterson, who grew up in Moretown and now lives in Waterbury, and Jim Dang of Burlington have created a route that covers 10,000 miles across the country. For 60 weeks, they'll alternate between cycling and volunteering at nonprofit organizations. Along the way, they'll produce documentary-style YouTube videos about their experience.
"We're prepared to live day to day," Peterson said. "We're going to sleep on the ground in our tiny tent, make meals out of our humble Jetboil camp stove and hardly bathe or have our clothes laundered," he said. "Realistically though, the struggle we'll face is proportionately small, compared to what many Americans face daily."
Volunteering with nonprofits seeking to improve the quality of life for people who are struggling—whether they're physically or mentally handicapped, homeless, poor or at-risk—Peterson and Dang hope to show how easy and rewarding it is to help those in need.
In 2011, the pair cycled 3,600 miles from Vermont to California to raise awareness and money for the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (BBRF). Both Peterson and Dang suffer from depression and remain in ties with the BBRF, a charity foundation that funds research for mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar, PTSD, ADHD, schizophrenia and anxiety.
More information on fundraising efforts for the pair's next adventure is available at www.gofundme.com/dylanandjim. Their official blog address is JDWheelsofChange.com and their Twitter handle is @DylanandJim.