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05-31-18

Clarence Bell Scholarship Award Winner Essay

Something to Believe In
“Search, Evaluate and Execute” apply to more than an acronym created by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation; these words are powerful when navigating life. We search for answers, we evaluate options and ultimately we execute on the decisions we make. Being a rider is a choice and one that changes your life in ways that are unexpected – this is what I learned when I started my journey as both a rider and member of A.B.A.T.E. of PA over six years ago.

As a young mother and wife the decision to join A.B.A.T.E. came from the desire to help protect one of the best parts of my life, my husband. As a rider at heart, my husband enjoyed the camaraderie that A.B.A.T.E. provided and asked me to come with him to a meeting. It was there, in those early days, that I learned the importance and significance that a small group of people could make.

I learned from the elders, I applied my knowledge and enthusiasm at events, and with each day that passed I became more connected to not only being a rider but a member of A.B.A.T.E. Being a woman seemingly made this a bit more of a challenge at times when old school motorcycle right’s advocates started testing my knowledge, but each time I took it as an opportunity to learn from them and grow!

This new passion was further fueled by the fulfillment that came from being involved in charitable acts in our community. Our chapter, small but mighty, created our own group ride to benefit a county resident in need and this opportunity to give back not only impacted me, it impacted all of us; it connected us more. It gave us something to believe in.

Belief is a big part of being an A.B.A.T.E. member; you have to believe in your right to choose as a motorcyclist and you have to commit yourself to understanding how the American government works. Falling in love with civics was not something I expected when joining A.B.A.T.E. but it has been a really interesting part of this ride so far.

A.B.A.T.E. is represented by some very knowledgeable people and seeing how the organization rallies toward the cause is nothing short of amazing. Biker’s rights are what unite us, what gives us a cause and it gave me something yet again to believe in.

When you start to feel the kind of strength that being a member of A.B.A.T.E. can bring you can start to surprise yourself with the changes you make in your own life; in December 2016 I decided to start studying for my class M permit. Late at night, in secret (in case I failed), I read through the manual and scheduled my exam – I passed! I enrolled in the Motorcycle Safety Program and hopped on a bike, solo, for the first time. I highly recommend this program to anyone who wants to be a rider; the skills you learn on the course (and hopefully not in the rain like I was) are long-lasting lessons that will help you SEE on the road.

Being a member of A.B.A.T.E. has provided me with experiences that I will carry on always; the people, the places and the memories keep rolling in and that is worth more than words. From the east to the west of PA I’ve seen rolling hills, sun-glistened streams, and been caught in rain storms because we “thought we could make it” on a bike; these moments make you feel more alive than just about any other. Thank you for being something to believe in, A.B.A.T.E. of PA.

My journey in believing in myself also culminated in returning to college a few years ago. I am working toward my degree in Business Management at Harrisburg Area Community College and I’m on track to graduate in December of this year. It’s not been easy; many late nights and missed adventures were all part of the process but when I walk across the stage with my two little ones watching, I know it will all be worth it. Thank you for considering my essay for the Clarence Bell Scholarship.

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