This is part of a series of blog posts about individuals, families, and corporations who use their time and talents to benefit of ECPAT-USA and to raise awareness about the issue of child sex trafficking. These people have taken it upon themselves to educate others in their own ways and have allowed us to grow our network more than we could on our own. We do not take credit for their actions, but we are endlessly thankful for their support.
After a break from a life that used to include cycling regularly, Dorothea Calabrese is hopping back on the bike as a member of the ECPAT-USA charity team in this year’s Five Boro Bike Tour. A travel buyer for Maritz Travel - a Maritz Global Events company, who is also sponsoring her slot on the team, Calabrese is slightly nervous (but excited) about the 40-mile ride, and she has an unrivaled cheering section in her two kids.
We talked to Calabrese about her 25 years in the travel and tourism industry, how she’s seen the awareness of sex trafficking increase over time and why her training is a family affair.
How long have you been cycling?
I used to be a big cyclist and then I had kids. I jumped on anything with anyone who was cycling. Now, though, I’m older so this is going to be interesting. In the past couple days, I’ve ridden 26 miles. I’m trying to get myself back in gear - no pun intended.
Why did you chose to join the ECPAT-USA charity team?
It was a good opportunity. It was an amazing cause. There was a little lightbulb that said, this is one of your passions now. I’m excited. It’s lit a little fire.
Why do you think sex trafficking is an important issue?
I’ve been on the hotel side for over 25 years. It’s only recently been in the past few years that it’s really gotten a name and recognition. Having the information of the statistics of where things are happening where people can no longer say, “it’s not in my backyard.” it really hit home in an industry that I’ve been in all my life.
And then, your kids come to a certain age. You’re like oh my gosh, if that ever happened to my kids. Now you’re passionate because it hits so close to home.
How have you seen the discussion around the issue change in the past 25 years?
Once you name it, you can create a path of awareness and all things that go for that. This now has a name. This now has a program. This is now how we can help. No one can just only volunteer. To add something else, you have to be able to take off enough bites that you can chew and still be helpful.
You have two kids. Have they been helping at all with your training?
My 13-year-old daughter said, “I’m going to start going on a treadmill and let’s do that side-by-side. Last night, we went to the gym at 7:30 and she was on the treadmill and I was next to her on the bike. At one point, I was like, I don’t want to do this anymore, and I reached over and held her hand. It’s actually creating a great bonding experience.
How has your training been going?
My daughter asked when the ride was and I told her May 7th. And she said, May 7th! You have plenty of time. I told her that she didn’t realize how old her mom is. I told her I should have started training in December.
To learn more about upcoming ECPAT-USA's athletes events, click here.