Spoke Folk is riding on into a new chapter, with a new home and new partners.
Spoke Folk Director Richard Goodman sat down with the OBSERVER to announce the new and exciting changes happening with the organization.
Goodman explained after the Iglesia Getsemani Church was sold, Spoke Folk was hard pressed to find a new, adequate home. He said he and Spoke Folk volunteers wanted to stay in the area where the program started.
OBSERVER Photo by Nicole Gugino
Pictured is Spoke Folk Director Richard Goodman (front, center) with Spoke Folk volunteers and Coordinator of individualized career and transition services for Aspire Betsy Dixon-Lang (right) and Coordinator of transportation Percy Williamson (back, center).
OBSERVER Photo by Nicole Gugino
A Spoke Folk volunteer works on a bike in the new location at Crino Music's old dance studio.
After a year and a half of searching, things started coming together for Spoke Folk.
The dance studio behind Crino Music had been vacant for almost a year when Goodman saw potential in it for Spoke Folk. Around the same time Goodman began meeting with Betsy Dixon-Lang, coordinator of individualized career and transition services for Aspire, a group which works with the developmentally disabled, and things were set in motion.
"Everything started coming together; Steve Colicchia had the building, we had the equipment and the volunteers and Aspire had the resources to lease the structure and rehab the building," he explained.
Goodman said Spoke Folk has always run on a social entrepreneurship principle where the community and private organizations work together to meet common goals.
"It has always been a dream to combine Spoke Folk with bike arts for the disabled," he said. "Everybody in the community benefits, the city benefits because it has a better looking building which will draw in more business for Crino's and more traffic into the city. It is a unique model and I hope it will serve as a template for other organizations."
Dixon-Lang said Spoke Folk volunteers will now work with Aspire staff and individuals interested in bikes and will learn to take bikes apart, put them together, inventory parts and blog about their experiences. Goodman said he is also excited for a program making old bike parts into art and jewelry pieces and the possibility of a retail operation to give Aspire's individuals business skills.
Goodman said there is also a possibility of a mobile unit for taking the program on the road.
"We are excited to be offering this opportunity for our individuals with developmental disabilities. This is a pilot program for our agency. This is a unique service ... Aspire tries to find meaningful ways for individuals to find productive things to do, things that fit into each of their individual niches," Dixon-Lang said.
Spoke Folk is still active in its programs: The Bike Lab, Earn a Bike Program, The Bike Works, Recycle a Bike Wheel People and Every Kid Deserves a Bike. For more information on Spoke Folk or one of its programs visit its website at www.spokefolk.net.
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