_CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, the original version of this story incorrectly stated the translation of Vidas de Esperanza. The phrase translates as Lives of Hope, not Lives for Hope.
The article also incorrectly stated that the program is based out of Carrboro when it operates out of multiple locations in the Triangle. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the errors._
On an intense training day, Ascary Arias can be found biking around Carrboro for four hours.
During easy workouts, he bikes for at least an hour and lifts weights for two more.
But Arias doesn’t bike as a hobby or to keep in shape — he’s training for a 2,330 mile bike trip from Greensboro to Ixmiquilpan, Mexico.
As president of Vidas de Esperanza (Lives of Hope), a nonprofit based in Carrboro, Arias will set out on an 18-day fundraiser on Aug. 1 to provide the Ixmiquilpan community with supplies ranging from construction equipment to children’s toys.
A native of Ixmiquilpan, Arias returned home after living in the United States for 11 years in 2003.
“I realized what I escaped from — the reasons I left were still there,” he said.
At the time, Arias was studying sociology and Spanish at Greensboro College and turned to his professor Cheryl Brown for help.
“He talked to me when he got back,” said Brown, who is now the vice president of Vidas de Esperanza. “He said, ‘Listen, kids are still hungry, they still don’t have shoes. Nothing’s changed, except I can make a difference now.’”