Biking with the Homeless

Kevin Frank, Executive Director of the Brady Faith Center in Syracuse, explained to me a bicycle program with residents of a homeless shelter that started two years ago.

“Pedal to Possibilities is a program is simply a bike ride three times a week with neighbors and people living in shelters to be able to be in a community. We wanted it to be a success, so after ten rides a person gets to keep the bike, helmet and lock and feel like they earned it, and they did.”

“People who are homeless are often tolerated at best in our community. But they also live together with other people who are homeless for the most part, and don’t have a diverse network of friends around them who are living in other circumstances.

Andrew Lunetta explained how the program got started. “I was working over at the shelter, and at seven in the morning guys have to leave. They get kicked out. I was thinking that there must be somewhere people can go for something healthy, for some good activity. So I reached out to the Brady Faith Center with a friend of mine. I asked whether there was anything we could do here. So every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we opened the space for coffee or whatever. As the weather started improving in March, no one wanted to be inside playing games or listening to music, so. . .I loved to bike at the time, so we kind of put the two together and started going on bike rides.”

“It’s great,” Kevin Frank said. “Riding in the neighborhood, we will ride by people, and two or three people will be sitting on some steps and I’ll hear them say, ‘That’s that bike program at South Ave. Brady! If you ride ten times you get to keep the bike, helmet and lock!’ And they’re telling people about us!”

“It’s only through spending time with people that we can begin to discern the voice and the whisper and the mystery of God’s movement. And we’re led. We are led by the relationship. So it really needs to be transformed from a doing for to a being with, and then in the being with we are listening and being led to what the needs are and how we can do it, not ourselves, but together.”

“When we’re on a bike together, we’re all neighbors on the bike. We’re all equal. We’re all just friends. It’s a chance to live community together.”

Photo: Inarizoo. Morguefile license.


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