PRESCOTT, Ariz. - A Yavapai County professor is helping support his students by hitting the trails with his bike.
It's fair to say Dr. Daniel Schwartz is on a very important path in life.
Dr. Schwartz is an American Sign Language professor and interpreter at Yavapai College in Prescott. When the pandemic hit last year, he noticed the negative impact it was having on his students.
"I maintain contact with all of my students via email, via online discussion...and I did virtual office hours, and I was [hearing about] a lot of personal problems," said Schwartz. "Students were unable to make the class times because either their hours had been cut and they had to adjust their work shifts, or take on a second job that interfered with what was already previously a set aside time for our class time.
"The class was not a priority," Schwartz continued. "Putting food on the table, paying the mortgage, paying the bills -- took top priority."
At first his bike rides were a way for the 65-year-old to cope, but once he caught - and beat - COVID-19, he realized they were a way for him to offer hope.
"My big mantra during the classes, even in the beginning throughout my COVID Ride of Hope Campaign, was to just do whatever you can do and just take it one day at a time," the professor said.
Schwartz had turned his daily bike ride into a fundraiser, where all funds go to Yavapai College's Student Emergency Fund.
"It boils down to whether or not you can make rent or if your car breaks down," said a representative for the college.. "A lot of the students at Yavapai College - a good amount of us - are returning students returning to education. There are families we have to take care of."
Schwartz pedals 8.5 miles a day, rain, snow or shine. When the weather doesn't permit for outdoor rides, he uses his stationary bike.
"It really tested my fortitude and desire to keep this going, and I never missed a day, even during COVID," Schwartz said. "The symptoms lasted two weeks...I continued to do the ride, and it was a struggle."
The Yavapai College Foundation has set up a donation page on its Just Giving platform. Donors can contribute directly to the campaign, pledge money through Daniel's own fundraising page, or set up a parallel ride or activity that generates funds for IAMYC. For more information, please contact the Yavapai College Foundation at 928-776-2025.
Visit their fundraising page: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/iamycfundraiser
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