Kalaheo dad bikes for bucks
By Caryn Kunz
Advertiser Staff Writer
The parent of a Kalaheo High senior is hoping that a 210-mile bike ride on Saturday will help raise money for the school's planned 2010 Project Graduation next May.
John Bandy plans to leave his home at Kaneohe Marine Corps Base at 1 a.m., biking up the Windward coast and across the North Shore to Kaena Point, where he'll turn around and head back home to pick up lunch before finishing up with a ride to Waikíkí and back along Kalaniana'ole Highway.
Bandy, Chief Warrant Officer 5 at Marine Forces Pacific, is a triathlete who has participated in six Ironman races. He most recently took part in Hawaii Revisited, a benefit race for the Challenged Athletes Foundation along the original Hawai'i Ironman course.
In 2006, Bandy undertook a similar bike fundraiser around Okinawa for his older daughter's Project Graduation. That ride raised more than $2,500. He hopes for a similar result this time.
"We have to raise quite a bit of money," he said. "There are 200 graduating kids and all have been given a pledge form. If this could be the big money-raiser for us, that would be awesome."
Last month, Bandy sent a letter to 100 friends and family soliciting pledges per mile or straight donations for the fundraiser, asking recipients to then forward the letter in an effort to raise the volume of contributors.
"If 300 people give 10 dollars, we'll have $3,000," Bandy said. "It all adds up over time."
Each senior has been asked to contribute $75 for Project Graduation, but that will only pay for a portion of the night's expenses, which include transportation, class T-shirts, the event venue and more.
"So far, we only have like $4,000, so time is slipping away," said Melinda Baker, Kalaheo's 2010 Project Grad chair. "We kind of got a late start so we're trying to get the ball rolling and gain momentum."
Baker said the project grad committee is working on a variety of fundraisers, including a car magnet sale, HI-5 recycling, teacher night at McDonald's and Bandy's bike ride. Other bigger fundraisers are in the works for 2010 to help subsidize the cost for Kalaheo seniors.
"We want 100 percent participation. If someone can't pay for financial reasons, we will make sure that they'll still be able to attend," she said.
Project Graduation is a drug- and alcohol-free night of activities immediately following graduation for high school seniors.
"We do this for the kids and the community," Baker said. "There have been kids that have died in accidents celebrating graduation because of drugs and alcohol. This way we can put them in an environment where they won't have those things. It also keeps the community safe because it keeps them off the roads."