Talking with A dedicated spokes person for disadvantaged kids

Name: Marilyn Price

Age: 74

City: Mill Valley

Position: Founder and director of Trips for Kids

J.: You founded Trips for Kids, a nonprofit outdoors program for underprivileged youth. It now has dozens of chapters in North America and around the world. How did the organization develop?

Marilyn Price: We got started in 1988 as a mountain bike program for disadvantaged kids. Then it moved out of my home, and we started a bike thrift shop and an earn-a-bike program for kids. In 1999 we became an international program.

We’ve got 90 programs around the world. There’s one chapter in Israel on a kibbutz. One of the more notable things I know about them is they will take kids from Israel and kids who have come from the surrounding countries on rides together.

Marilyn Price

J.: The kids you serve locally come to you through service agencies. How does your model work?

MP: These agencies were all looking for affordable experiences for the kids. They are the ones that are really making a difference in the lives in the kids, and we are supporting the agencies. We meet them at the trailhead, we do an introduction getting to know them, fit them on the bikes, put the helmets on their heads and we’re out. Some of the kids we take may never take another ride with us.

J.: How did you get started mountain biking?

MP: I started mountain biking in the early ’80s. I had been road riding for years, and I gave that up. In those days, I would go out with a map, and I was determined to do every trail on Mt. Tam and the whole Golden Gate Recreation Area. And I pretty much did, even if I spent all day. I always say if I retire, I’d probably go back to doing more [riding] — if I’m not too old and decrepit. We’re very blessed here in Marin County, having the Mt. Tam area and the whole Golden Gate Recreation Area. It’s huge and it’s just so beautiful. We’re in a wonderful area. It’s got to be one of the better places to be.

J.: What was your Jewish upbringing?

MP: We grew up very Reform. I grew up in St. Louis. The community that we lived in and the grammar school was 90 percent Jewish. I grew up more feeling the cultural identity than the religious identity. I dated a rabbinical student for a few years, but I married outside of my religion. I feel very much the cultural identity and have all my life. But I don’t know. I guess people are kind of people.

J.: How can people get involved with Trips for Kids?

MP: A very easy way for people to contribute, if they have bikes, is to just donate bike stuff to our shop — the Re-Cyclery Bike Thrift Shop on 4th Street in San Rafael — and to shop at our shop.

“Talking with … ”focuses on local Jews who are doing things we find interesting. Send suggestions to [email protected]

Drew Himmelstein
Drew Himmelstein

Drew Himmelstein is a former J. reporter who writes about education, families and Jewish life. She lives with her husband and two sons.