By Molly Guthrey, [email protected]
Emma and Rob Moody weren't trying to change the world. But they are. With a triathlon.
For the young athletes from Hudson, Wisc, their race started off with a bang in 2011. It began when Emma tagged along on her mom's volunteer work. "I was attending a meeting for Bridge for Youth With Disabilities," says Susan Moody, the children's mother. Bridge is a nonprofit that provides programs and opportunities for children and adults with disabilities.
"I was sitting next to my mom, kind of bored," says Emma, now 11. "They were talking about how to raise money for Bridge. I said, 'We could do a 5K.' "The board members weren't sure they'd have enough volunteers to staff the race. "I could do my own run," Emma countered.
And so she did. Emma raised about $1,000 in pledges by running 50 miles in one month. The money was used to help fund landscaping for the grounds at Bridge's new facility -- clearing weeds, planting vegetables, designing green space for gatherings or games of kickball.
In 2012, Emma's brother picked up the pace. "I decided I wanted to do something," says Rob, now 9. "I decided to do biking. I rode 250 miles on my bike."
Thanks to the pledges raised, the brother and sister delivered 29 bicycles, three scooters and dozens of helmets to the children of Lakota Indian Nation of South Dakota in time for Christmas. "Every kid needs a bike," Rob says.
This year, the brother and sister are hoping other children will join them. Their new nonprofit, Tri to Change the World (TCW) -- "Kids Helping Kids Through Fitness" -- is hosting a youth triathlon June 8 at the YMCA in Hudson. The money raised will go to a children's hospital in honor of a patient they know. They also hope to deliver more bikes and fund swim lesson scholarships.
By helping others, the brother and sister also have helped themselves achieve a new level in fitness. "Training is not fun," says Emma. "But raising money for kids and being outside is really, really fun."
The mother behind this nonprofit is overwhelmed and inspired by her children. "It's interesting," says Susan Moody. "They presented it as logical and acceptable and doable," to get 501(c) 3 status (a tax exemption for nonprofit corporations). " 'You can do that for me, right, Mom?'
"I didn't think I could. In the paperwork, the IRS instructions say something like, 'It will take you 92 hours to fill out this paperwork' or some other absurd number. It was daunting and outside of my comfort zone. "But my son was outside his comfort zone when he rode his bike for 250 miles; my daughter was outside her comfort zone when she ran 50 miles in a month. So, I can fill out some paperwork."
The kids are inspiring in other ways, too. "When they see a need, they don't think it's 'complicated' like grown-ups sometimes do," says Susan Moody. "They think: 'I can help.' "
Share your own turning point with Molly Guthrey at [email protected] or 651-228-5505
TCW'S SPRING YOUTH TRIATHLON EVENT
When: 1-5 p.m. June 8
Where: YMCA in Hudson, Wis.
What: Distances for pool swim, bike and run vary according to age group
Registration: $30 by May 11, $35 after May 11 (no race-day registration); no pledges required
Details: Through a partnership with the YMCA, Tri to Change the World (TCW), a nonprofit founded by a young brother-and-sister team, will host its first youth triathlon.