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The Suburbanite
  • Coventry grads embark on cross-country mentoring expedition

  • For 2006 Coventry grads Matt Friedlund and Marty Ethington, post-college life doesn’t mean giving up the dream of someday becoming professional adventurers.

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  • For 2006 Coventry grads Matt Friedlund and Marty Ethington, post-college life doesn’t mean giving up the dream of someday becoming professional adventurers.
    The pair will embark on a five-month long cross-country cycling trip with the Young Philanthropists, an organization Friedlund started to use adventure as a tool to mentor children and raise money for various benevolent causes. The journey, called the Young and Wild Expedition, will unite eight other riders with Friedlund and Ethington.
    Just after he graduated from college, Friedlund traveled across the country with his brother on a similar cycling trip.
    “It had a big impact on my life in the same way that college does,” Friedlund, who now lives in Baton Rouge La., said of that adventure. “I wanted to find some avenues for adventure to become sustainable and allow people to live interesting lives.”
    Now, the Young Philanthropists work with several different initiatives, from “micro-adventures” that focus on service projects such as helping people pay back loans and offering GED classes, to “expeditions,” such as the Young and Wild Expedition.
    When they embark on their journey today from Jacksonville, Fla., they will complete objectives varying from self-bettering curriculum, including reading and writing assignments, to community service projects in cities across America. The group will ride from Florida to San Diego and will finish in Seattle.
    “The community projects will be our main focus,” Ethington said.
    Friedlund said that within the five-month trip, there will be plenty of time for lots of projects.
    “It works as a way for communities to get a lot of work out of us, and we’ll do service projects in the communities we stop in two to three times a week,” said Frieldund, who has a degree in journalism from Huntington University in Huntington, Ind.
    Each rider will focus on his or her own objective and will mentor both children and adults along the way. They will also raise funds for Casa De Luz, a school, orphanage and community food bank in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
    “We’ll do a lot of fundraising for local causes, and then the whole thing is collectively a fundraiser for a nonprofit in Tegucigalpa,” Friedlund said.
    Friedlund also put together a classics-based curriculum that the riders will focus on in their downtime.
    “We’ll be studying a curriculum of rhetoric, business, economics, leadership and religion,” he said.
    In between studying and helping the community, the group will ride between 40 and 90 miles per day on both state routes and back roads.
    “We’ve partnered with a couple of causes, like an obesity initiative, to speak about these issues that we’re passionate about,” Friedlund said.
    Ethington, who has a degree in sociology and history from Muskingum University, recently returned from teaching English in South Korea. He said besides teaching abroad, he is excited to try something new.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I’ve never done anything like this at all,” Ethington said. “For me, I really do feel like there’s some kind of duty to help other people, but also help people in your own country.”
    During their trip, they will attempt to live on just $5 a day, to both ration their funds and understand the lifestyle of the people they aim to help. With that in mind, the organization and the expedition are actively seeking donations.
    To learn more about the Young Philanthropists, visit www.theyp.org. To donate to the Young and Wild Expedition, visit their Web site or send a check to 50 E. Philadelphia Ave., Boyertown, Pa. 19512. To give specifically to Friedlund or Ethington, make a note in the memo box.