The 23-year-old woman on a solo rollerblading journey has now skated up and down the East Coast since her visit through Madison earlier this year. After reaching New York City, Yanise Ho is resting in South Carolina.
“I decided South Carolina would be a nice place to take a break by the ocean,” said Yanise. “I made it to New York in 91 days.”
Yanise began her 6,000-mile trip in Miami at the beginning of March to raise money for The Bladress Scholarship. Through the charity One Girl Can, the donations will provide scholarships to impoverished girls in Kenya and Uganda. Ho rolled through Madison in April while travelling north.
The Bladress Scholarship has currently raised $11,721 of the $60,000 goal, enough to sponsor 23 girls. One anonymous donor will match the donations dollar for dollar, up to a value of $20,000.
Yanise began the scholarship out of a sense of obligation to help young girls.
“I’ve always been passionate about ending child marriage, and I always know that education is the most effective method to change the fate of these girls,” she said. “I want to show the world what I see. That there are a lot of good people.”
Yanise carries a 40-pound bag but no money, and instead, relies on strangers for food and shelter.
“One of my favorite experiences was this little boy that invited me to his home,” she said. “I was sitting in a park lost, and my phone broke, some of my equipment broke. I just sat down, and it was getting dark. I had no idea where I was going.”
“This little boy on a bicycle came to me,” said Yanise. “He said, ‘Well, my dad is plumber. You can come to my home. He is a kind man, and he will help you. He lets a lot of people stay too. I’m sure he will let you stay.’ This little boy was just seven-years-old.”
Despite being on the road for 102 days and travelling for 1,718 miles, Yanise has never gone a day without a roof to sleep under or food to eat.
“People are so nice,” Yanise said. “There was a day I felt a little frustrated. I was in Delaware, and I always thought that Southern hospitality was very normal.”
“People are a little different in the North,” she said. “I thought, ‘Am I going to be hosted tonight?’ I started having doubts. But then as soon as I eliminated my doubts, someone came up to me, and he hosted me.”
While the road can be tough, Yanise finds the hardest part is leaving the company of her new friends.
“I’ve never felt lonely because I’ve met some wonderful people along the way” she said. “It’s not so much the 40-pound backpack, not so much skating by myself. Every day having to leave the family, having to say goodbye every day, it is the hardest thing.”
“I would be so tempted to stay an extra day,” Yanise said. “But had I not been able to resist the temptation, I wouldn’t have made it so far.”
Yanise will start rolling to the West Coast in the next few days.
“I’ve been preparing, planning the road from the East Coast to the West Coast,” said Yanise. “And also getting new gear.”
Yanise will end her journey in Los Angeles and estimates it will take another three and a half months.
“Every day is a surprise. I never know where I’m going to sleep. I never know if I get food, but somehow it always works out,” Yanise said.
To donate to The Bladress Scholarship, visit: https://www.youcaring.com/onegirlcan-1111331.