Kara Mariani is looking to build homes, and for the next seven months, she will be training for the ride of a lifetime.

"I just believe we are going to make a difference wherever we are and the people there are going to benefit from it," said Mariani, a Bike and Build participant. "I also just want to be a part of something bigger than myself." 

Mariani, 25, will participate in Bike and Build's cross-country bike ride from Florida to California. 

"I'm most nervous about the 100-mile days, and that could be uphill or in treacherous weather," Mariani said.

She starts training for her more than-2,000-mile ride this week at Planet Fitness in Newburgh. The purpose of the ride is to raise money and awareness about the country's affordable housing crisis and build houses along the way. 

"So when you're spending more than 50 percent of your income on housing, you have less money to spend on things like health care, health insurance, car insurance, and that can lead to even more systemic problems," Mariani said. 

"We're going to get into the nitty-gritty of it and build houses from scratch with certain organizations across the country."

Each team member needs to raise $5,000 to go on the service trip.

"After we are done biking across the country, that money is then pooled into this grant fund and distributed to non-profits who apply for the program," Mariani said.

Kara and 15 other members in her group leave May 18. To donate, visit bikeandbuild.org.