SOURCE: Santa Barbara Middle School

January 28, 2008 16:26 ET

Santa Barbara Middle School Students Ride for Rwanda

Local Santa Barbara Middle School Students, Faculty, and Alumni Will Participate in 2nd Annual Fundraiser to Help Rwanda's Coffee Farmers

SANTA BARBARA, CA--(Marketwire - January 28, 2008) - Following a horrific genocide, the people of Rwanda continue to rebuild their lives and restore their communities. For the second year in a row, the students, faculty, and alumni of Santa Barbara Middle School, an independent day school for grades six through nine, will help raise money and awareness for the people of Rwanda in the Ride4Rwanda fundraiser. This event, organized by Santa Barbara Middle School alumnus and current UC Berkeley student Jacob Seigel Boettner, is a 9 mile bike ride through the Santa Barbara/Goleta community that will take place on Saturday, February 2nd at Goleta Beach. For years, Santa Barbara Middle School has used bike riding in their outdoor education programs to explore the environment, build confidence, and expand learning outside the classroom. Now, Santa Barbara Middle School participates in bike riding for a global cause.

Bicycles are a vital tool in the country of Rwanda for survival, production, and prosperity. Coffee farmers, whose work encompasses the majority of the country's economy, depend on bikes to get to work and to transport coffee beans to the washers. To Rwandan workers, a bicycle is more than just a toy or a simple machine on two wheels, but a tool that can help revitalize a nation torn apart by a brutal genocide.

Through its bicycling program, Santa Barbara Middle School enriches global awareness for its students. "At Santa Barbara Middle School I learned how much bikes can change lives. In Rwanda, a bike is a tool for survival, and we have the power to make a difference in that recovering country," explains Seigel Boettner.

The first annual Ride4 Rwanda welcomed over 100 participants, mostly comprised of the Santa Barbara Middle School family, and raised about $4,000. "This year I hope to double the turnout and raise $8,000 in order to build a support structure in Rwanda that provides tools, parts, and repair services to Rwandan civilians," Seigel Boettner says. With the help of Seigel Boettner and Santa Barbara Middle School, Ride4Rwanda aims to earn funding for over 200 bicycles as well as bike shops in Rwanda's communities.

The Santa Barbara Middle School is the only stand-alone co-ed accredited middle school in California, part of the California Association of Independent Schools. SBMS was founded in 1976 by a group of students, parents, and teachers concerned about the junior high years, seeking to create a school that would combine an innovative, challenging academic program with an environment responsive to the many needs of adolescent students. Santa Barbara Middle School cultivates in its students a passion for life and life-long learning, a deep sense of trust in themselves, strength and courage to succeed at life's challenges, and compassion and respect for others. It is located at 2300 A Garden Street in Santa Barbara, California. Please see for more information, or call (805) 682-2989.

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    Alissa Sears
    Christie Communications
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    School Contact:
    Dick Davidson
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