Thursday, April 26 , 2018, 10:13 pm | Fair 55º


SBMS Students Hosting Mountain2Mountain Benefit Concert Celebrating Bikes, Women, Empowerment

Santa Barbara Middle School’s Mountain2Mountain Team Empowerment — top row from left, Jensen Steady, Ben Speirs, Evan Knight, Jordan Bollag, Lamont Stiff and Max Youngson; bottom row from left, Addie Geritz-Furrer, Anya O’Connor and Maia Hammond. Not pictured: Ami Hammond.
Santa Barbara Middle School’s Mountain2Mountain Team Empowerment — top row from left, Jensen Steady, Ben Speirs, Evan Knight, Jordan Bollag, Lamont Stiff and Max Youngson; bottom row from left, Addie Geritz-Furrer, Anya O’Connor and Maia Hammond. Not pictured: Ami Hammond. (Santa Barbara Middle School photo)

An ambitious team of nine Santa Barbara Middle School students is hosting a benefit concert for the nonprofit Mountain2Mountain at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club from 5 to 8:30 p.m. May 16.

Their goal is to raise $10,000 to send 100 bikes to empower women in Afghanistan, one of the hardest places to live as a woman. The event will feature Colorado resident Shannon Galpin, the founder of Mountain2Mountain and 2013 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, as well as many other special musicians and inspirational speakers. Guest musicians include Martin & Calo Gore (Martin is the founding member of Depeche Mode), Midnight Mynx, Mango Mango, Elijah and Mendeleyev Allan-Blitz and student musicians.

Why are these nine students so empowered to help Mountain2Mountain, a nonprofit that helps women and children so far away? It all began this past February in Seattle at the Youth Bike Summit when a group of inspired eighth- and ninth-grade Santa Barbara Middle School journalism students and bike mechanics attended the summit and met Galpin.

The Youth Bike Summit is designed to transform local communities and strengthen the national bike movement by empowering bicycle leaders of all ages, but especially youth, to use their voice and take action. Ten keynote speakers took to the stage the first morning at the summit to share their own individual bicycle story of empowerment.

It was at this morning presentation, when the eager Santa Barbara Middle School students met Galpin, that the team was transfixed by her passion and interest in biking and was astounded after hearing her story of spending multiple years learning of the oppression of women while on her bike in Afghanistan.

Her message is the inspiration and passion behind this upcoming student-planned Mountain2Mountain benefit concert at SOhO.

The students have taken the mission of the Youth Bike Summit to heart as they use their voice and their leadership to take action and plan this exciting benefit from start to finish. This young team of community activists and fundraisers divided themselves into smaller groups based on interest to conquer different aspects of the event planning process. Some of the groups include marketing and messaging, corporate sponsors, a raffle, and technology and logistics.

The corporate sponsorship team had to learn business techniques that they never would have learned otherwise. Evan Knight, a ninth-grade student on the corporate sponsorship team, felt that, “The most persuasive part of our pitch was not only the cause, but the idea that we are just young ninth-graders and able to get out there and make a difference in our own community.” The whole sponsorship team was forced to step out of their comfort zone, be precise, organized, and persuasive during the short corporate meetings.

Ninth-grade student Max Youngson said, “I found it challenging to find a way to personalize each pitch and make it meaningful to to each of the individual businesses.”

The marketing team used their newly learned graphic design techniques to create posters to advertise for the event.

“Getting people to pay attention and figuring out how to share our event in a way that appeals to the masses is challenging,” commented ninth-grade marketing co-chair Jensen Steady.

Ami Hammond, the raffle coordinator, cold-called Fuji Bikes and was able to get a Nevada 2.1 mountain bike donated for the event’s big raffle item.

It has been a big challenge to take on organizing the Mountain2Mountain benefit concert for these nine students, yet the lessons learned and the fulfillment they hope to feel on May 16 make it all worthwhile.

The team, now known as Team Empowerment, would like to thank the sponsors thus far who have helped jump-start the team’s fundraising efforts: premiere sponsor Village Properties; Nicholson and Schwartz, CPA; Howell, Moore & Gough Attorneys; AMS Photographics; Blue Fin Graphic Design; Heritage Oaks Bank; Strategic Incentives; West Beach Inn; Hazard’s Cyclesport; Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition; Katherine Cosmetics; B4T9 Women’s Cycling Team; Handlebar Coffee Roasters; and, of course, Santa Barbara Middle School.

The team has high hopes of selling out SOhO, and so they would like the readers to know that this event is open to the public and great for people of all ages. You can buy tickets online by clicking here or at the door. Tickets are $20.

— Ben Speirs and Jensen Steady are ninth-grade students at Santa Barbara Middle School.

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