In mid December, we honoured our 2018 Cycle of Change graduates in a ceremony dedicated to the celebration of their own individual uniqueness, personal strength, and the significant accomplishment of completing the program.
Each of our 131 successful alumni received a BMX from DK Bicycles as reward for the guts, strength and determination they displayed over the course of the year, and as a symbol of the power of the positive choices they made in order to complete the program.
We couldn't be prouder of the team, and on what was an unseasonably rainy December day, the clouds parted and shone down on our graduates just in time for the ceremony to begin. There couldn't have been a more significant image to represent the journey they embarked on throughout the year, coming out the other side of the program stronger, happier and more determined individuals, with a solid skillset to help them achieve their goals going forward.
When we launched The Drive to Ride in early 2019, it's safe to say we never expected the kind of response we received! We thought we might be kindly donated one or two bikes and maybe a few odds and ends to add to a collection of parts we could build on over the course of the year. We certainly never expected to put together an entire fleet of bikes, based purely on the goodness of people and their willingness to help others.
But that's exactly what happened!
We can't say thank you enough to everyone that donated their old mountain bikes towards The Drive to Ride; it was absolutely incredible for us to get out and be able to talk to these people, who came from all over the state, and chat about Lighthouse and what we do, and also find out more about each of the generous folk who kindly gifted their old bikes and parts to go towards future programs, while we were at it.
The layers of benefit to these donations for the disadvantaged youth we work with, are many. They represent an opportunity for these kids to get involved in healthy, productive, social behaviours, with people who care about them and want to encourage them to believe in their own potential. It's the chance for them to engage in getting stoked on life, and channel their energy towards productive pathways; getting their adrenaline rush from hitting the trails in the fresh air. It's going forward to respect the community that has helped make it possible. It's also the knowledge that people they didn't even know cared enough to donate these bikes, to give them these experiences.
We will now spend time refurbishing and giving the donated bikes a little bit of TLC, and getting them ready for our program participants to ride and tinker with in workshops designed to teach the skills of fixing and maintaining equipment.
2018 saw our Cycle of Change program awarded the City of Playford Local Hero Award for Best Training Program, and we are stoked to announce that we have started 2019 strong, with another nomination for Cycle of Change!
As part of Australia Day celebrations, the City of Playford have named Cycle of Change as a nominee for the Australia Day Community Group or Initiative of the Year Award.
These awards recognise individuals, clubs and groups who have contributed positively to the local community through volunteering, supporting community members and hosting local events.
It's always incredibly humbling when the work we do is recognised by local communities and to have this positive outreach acknowledged with an award nomination is no exception.
When our mentors are on the ground, day to day, working with the kids who are part of our programs, we can see first hand how we are helping each young person individually to reach their personal goals and be empowered to re-imagine a future for themselves, and that's why we do it! But the more recognition programs like this can receive, the more opportunity we have to help as many kids as possible going forward, and that's what's going to really make a difference.
Watch this space and keep your fingers crossed we come home with the win!
Do you have an old mountain bike sitting in the garage? Did you replace an outgrown MTB at Christmas time? Do you have some old mountain bike parts lying around gathering dust that you no longer need? We'd like to help you avoid landfill and put them to use!
2019 will see Lighthouse Youth Projects initiate The Drive to Ride in SA, a donation drive with the aim of collecting usable quality, or easily fixable Mountain bikes and mountain bike parts (including tyres, wheels, tubes, chains, cables, handlebars and saddles) for us to put towards future programs.
These bikes and components will form a fleet used for getting our program participants, many of whom may never have owned a bike of their own, out on the trails with mentors, and in workshops designed to teach the skills of fixing and maintaining equipment.
If you think you have something suitable you'd be happy to donate, please [contact us](https://lighthouseyp.org/contact-us)!