Inspired by retired Army Colonel Christopher Holshek's Travels with Harley – Journeys in Search of Personal and National Identity, the National Service Ride leverages motorcycling's appeal to freedom, adventure, and moving forward to promote citizenship and service, starting right at home. “When we become better citizens, we become a better country – because, when you serve your community, you serve your country."
Over the coming months, the project looks to help generate an empowering narrative about citizenship and service. "Making community, public, and national service a cultural expectation, a common opportunity, and a civic rite of passage for every American," as Service Year says, promotes engagement, collaboration and unity and helps pass the baton of generational leadership to move America forward.
The project centers around locally organized events to promote ongoing dialogue between service veterans from many walks of life looking to give back and youth looking for ways to pay it forward. At public information initiatives at high schools, colleges, and other places, local service-oriented motorcycle clubs and community, public, and national service organizations are facilitating conversations across generational and societal lines about citizenship and service – all enhanced and extended by mass and social media.
These interactive discussions aim to inspire America's youth on how they can best help themselves by helping others. They also show them clear pathways to service learning at local, national, and international levels. Encouraging and empowering young people to do good work and help solve common problems, starting in their own communities, also helps them improve their qualifications for personal advancement.
To get the wheels rolling, Col. (ret.) Holshek will appear at various events on the U.S. East Coast during the two weeks after Labor Day. Stops and presentations include:
- Wednesday, September 7th: North County High School of Anne Arundel County, 10 East 1st Avenue, Glen Burnie, MD; National Service Ride presentation from 9:30-10:45, after which local service organizations will be set up outside the school cafeteria; a book signing also follows – the event will be part of the Governor of Maryland's Day to Serve initiative.
- Friday, September 9th: Eastern Mennonite University (West Dining Room), 1200 Park Road, Harrisonburg, VA; National Service Ride presentation and no-host luncheon discussion from noon to 2:00 pm; moderated by Dr. Lisa Schirch, Research Professor, Center for Justice and Peacebuilding – co-sponsored by the Veterans for Peace; a book signing for their benefit is also included.
- Saturday, September 10th: The Pale Fire Brewery, 217 South Liberty Street, Harrisonburg, VA; National Service Ride presentation and luncheon discussion from 1:00 – 2:30 pm.
- Tuesday, September 13th: Kennesaw State University, Carmichael Student Center, 1000 Chastain Road, Kennesaw, GA; National Service Ride presentation and discussion from 1:00 – 3:30 pm – the presentation will be the opening part of a discussion on building peace locally and globally, "The Journey of a Thousand Miles – The Roadmap to Your Community" co-hosted by Kennesaw State University, the United Nations Association, and TRENDS Global.
- Wednesday, September 14th: Clarkston Community Center, 3701 College Avenue in Clarkston, GA, a major refugee resettlement hub in metropolitan Atlanta; National Service Ride presentations at a Career & Education Fair from 2:30 – 5:00 pm, including Georgia State University, Kennesaw State University, the United Nations Association, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Agency for International Development; following that, with Refuge Coffee and other community service initiatives on "Being an American: Identity, Citizenship, and Engagement," from 6:30 – 8:00 pm – the day's events are co-organized by TRENDS Global.
All events are open to the public. At each event, there will be a Mindful Moment of Gratitude, courtesy of Armor Down, to read the names of local veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice, to commemorate the 15th anniversary of 9/11 and to remind how citizens can best honor them by giving them "A Country Worth Their Sacrifice." Book signings and sales as fundraisers for local initiatives will take place after each presentation.
Motorcyclists from local clubs, including the Harley Owners Group, BMW Motorcycle Owners Association, American Motorcyclists Association, American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars Riders Clubs, and others can join up at any time along the way, especially at the events, to be part of the conversation.
Additional stops are currently being finalized. Routes and additional information will be posted soon.