Nearly 100 people woke up early to devote part of their Saturday raising money for an organization that aims to support young people when they need it the most. Hinsdale South Young Life, a faith-based non-profit, provides mentors and activities for students who attend .
The organization held a spin-a-thon at the in Burr Ridge Saturday to raise funds. It cost $50 a person for every 50-minute indoor cycling session. Several riders cycled through for all four sessions.
“I know in my past, I haven’t been the goodest of children..and this just gives me somewhere to go," said 15-year-old Hinsdale South student Victoria D'Andrea. “It helped me stay out of trouble.”
D'Andrea said she knows a lot of kids in the program that have gotten into trouble in the past and would continue to get into trouble without support. She said that having adults to share things with has been important to her.
"There’s just someone to talk to [at Young Life]. And you know, nomatter what, you can go to them to talk to them, and it’s just nice to have someone around,” said D'Andrea.
Mark Dunning, the director of the program, said that although the organization is faith-based, teens don't have to be religious to be a part of it.
"We really take kids in at any faith level and challenge them to make wise decisions...to be going to school, doing your homework, staying out of trouble," said Dunning. "Yeah, we’re their friend. But it’s a whole lot more than that. We challenge them."
Dunning said the program could not help as many students as it does without the support of the community, and he was very happy at the turnout Saturday.
"This is huge. This is great," said Dunning. "It’s not like there’s Head Young Life, and they just pump us full of money, you know. This is a community supported activity—Young Life—and so we live and die by the community around us. So events like this are great, because it helps us raise some much-needed funds to keep stuff going."
The event started at 6 a.m. and lasted until approximately 12:45 p.m. on Saturday. A final tally of the funds raised was not available at the time of this publication, but an estimate of more than $4,000 was made.