BLOOMINGDALE, Ohio - Going from a graduation ceremony and mortar board to bike riding gear in less than a month after receiving an advanced education isn't what most graduates do. But Garrett Zambrows isn't like most graduates.
Missionaries who specialize in counter trafficking efforts came to the attention of Garrett Zambrows of West Lafayette, Ind., about five years ago. Upon graduation, he created "Riding Against Traffic," a mission to counter global and domestic human trafficking through a five month/12,000 mile biking mission around the country.
This riding quest of many miles is to let the public know what can be done to fight human trafficking.
Garrett Zambrows started his planned 12,000-mile cross-country bicycle ride from Danville, Ill., on June 3 and will roll into the Bloomingdale area Friday to raise awareness on human trafficking. Along the way, he will be filming his riding mission. The Rev. John Oliver, pastor of the Mount Moriah Baptist Church, is a contact person for the area and will be hosting the rider at the church at 233 Wayne Township Road 195, Bloomingdale, at a tentative time of 7 p.m. Friday. -- Contributed
The 26-year-old will be riding into Bloomingdale sometime in the early evening Friday and go on to the Mount Moriah Baptist Church, located at 233 Wayne Township Road 195.
"We can't state a definite time, as something could go wrong with his bicycle or he could get held up by the weather in his ride from Coshocton to Bloomingdale, a 68-mile ride," the Rev. John Oliver, pastor of the Mount Moriah Baptist Church, and contact person for Zambrows, said.
"We want to make people aware of human trafficking because so many youth are at risk," Oliver said.
The church, located off a gravel road heading to Friendship Park, will have a welcome for the rider, and there will be live Christian music until 7:30 p.m.
Zambrows' story, called "Why Ride?" will be told at 7:30 p.m. He will be spending the night in Bloomingdale and then leave on Saturday to bicycle on to Pittsburgh.
"We chose Bloomingdale, as this will give him easy access to U.S. Route 22 to go on to Pittsburgh," Oliver said.
Globally, two children are trafficked each minute and 79 percent of them will be sexually exploited. A recent newspaper article read that Ohio is one of the worst states for human trafficking, as was noted in press material sent by the Riding Against Traffic team.
"We need to be educating our children. If something doesn't feel right, we need to let them know its OK to 'yell and yell.' There are nearly 3,000 youth at risk in Ohio and the reason for it being high is the large immigrant population, more truck stops and more colleges and universities in Ohio than any other state", according to state Rep. Teresa Fedor, D-Toledo.
Donations from Zambrows' ride benefits the work of Baptist Missionaries. The funds are received by Federated Church of West Lafayette, and 90 percent of the contribution is apportioned equally between anti-human trafficking mission work, and the remaining 10 percent is forwarded to the CASA for Kids program, a nonprofit group that supports and advocates children forgotten by the legal system.
The Federated Church absorbs the administrative overhead cost so that 100 percent of the dollars support the mission activities. Zambrows' modest expenses are supported by a grant from the church endowment fund board and a host of friends and family.
Checks for his mission can be made to the Federated Church of West Lafayette, 2400 Sycamore Lane, West Lafayette, IN 47006.
"I've had a strong passion for helping those in need over the past five years, those who face barriers to helping themselves. As a filmmaker and storyteller, I've wrestled to discover how my talents could be utilized to help such people," Zambrows said. "Finally, as I graduated from Purdue University and anticipate the next chapter in my life, I hope to direct my passion and use my skills to do some good in the world."
"Human trafficking for sexual exploitation exists in every country around the world. Globally, two children are trafficked every minute and 79 percent of those trafficked will be sexually exploited," he said.