In 1986 Marilyn Price was pedaling up a bike trail on Mount Tamalpais, gazing at the view of San Francisco beyond. She remembered the kids she used to see when she volunteered at St. Anthony’s Dining Room in the heart of the inner city and though how wonderful it would be if they could have a chance to do what she was doing. It was then that her vision of Trips for Kids began to take shape.
Trips for Kids is a San Francisco Bay Area non-profit that provides mountain bike outings and environmental education for kids that would not otherwise be exposed to these types of activities. Trips for Kids’ goal is to combine lessons in personal responsibility, achievement and environmental awareness through development of practical skills and the simple act of having fun. The Trips for Kids Re-Cyclery program provides job training for youth while recycling old bikes and bike parts.
Price founded Trips for Kids on the belief that outdoor experiences should be available to all children. Unfortunately, most of the kids served by Trips for Kids do not often exercise or have the opportunity to get out of their concrete environments. With commitment and persistence, Price created a program that provides these youth with outdoor, educational and work experiences that set them on a path toward healthy and happy lives.
Price has directed the program as it grew from a home-based volunteer run effort into a flourishing nonprofit that has taken more than 5,000 disadvantaged youth on mountain bike outings and has a volunteer base of 300 people. Trips for Kids has provided 650 low-income youth a chance to earn a bike of their own, hired 11 teens trained through the program, and operates two earn-a-bike workshops for inner city kids and provides jobs for the older kids. The organization earns 68% of its operating expenses from its bike thrift shop and fundraising events. It is now a national program with 10 Trips for Kids chapters across the country.
All of this was accomplished through the dedication and hard work of a woman who, with no prior business experience, wanted to help others. Price worked on a strictly volunteer basis for the first 11 years, putting in 70-80 hours a week. Two years ago she accepted a minimal nonprofit salary and continues to sustain the same level of commitment to this day.
“I believe that sustained commitment is one of the most important things,” said Marilyn Price, “To really change things you have to set your sights on something and keep at it.”