Somebody with an eye keenly tuned to the needs of people once coined the phrase, “Success Breeds Success,” and that’s one of the reasons Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland Inc. has already confirmed the date for next year’s Bike to Build communitywide fundraiser.
It is April 20, 2013 — a Saturday — at Bradley Central High School and the announcement is riding in on the success of this year’s event that attracted 327 cyclists and 225 volunteers.
Even more importantly, this year’s proceeds will go toward the construction of two more Habitat homes. These Century Village dwellings, built by the sweat equity of the families working shoulder-to-shoulder with a legion of volunteers and corporate sponsors, will become the American Dream for the Raymond and Janet Smith, and the Linda Smith, families.
For the third consecutive year, Toyota of Cleveland will serve as the Bike to Build Main Event Sponsor.
“Participating in this fundraising event as a rider, sponsor or volunteer means helping hardworking families in our community have the opportunity of owning their own home,” according to Annie Kinworthy, community development coordinator for the local affiliate.
She urged area residents, volunteers, businesses, sponsors and all Habitat supporters — past, present and future — to mark their calendars for next year’s event.
Kinworthy also pointed to the success of new additions to Bike to Build, one of which is the new “Spirit Riders” concept which was launched in the 2012 fundraiser. According to Kinworthy, a Spirit Rider is “a cyclist who rides in the Habitat Bike to Build in memory or honor of a loved one.”
“Hundreds of cyclists of all levels continue to ride in the Bike to Build to honor or remember a loved one as a Spirit Rider, as a venue to continue fitness goals and to make a positive difference in this community,” Kinworthy stressed. “Based on the degree of success of Bike to Build, we see every potential for the 2013 version to be equally as successful, and perhaps even more so!”
In the 2012 Summer Edition of the Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland newsletter, Kinworthy credited the idea of Spirit Rider to a Habitat enthusiast who she billed as “Super Volunteer.” He is Brian Welch, a Habitat believer who designed the three bicycle courses for the 2012 Bike to Build.
In her newsletter article, Kinworthy quoted Welch as saying, “I believe the Bike to Build could reach so many more people if we went about it in a way the honors loved ones. The biking community is a closely knit group who all support and care about one another very much.”
This year’s Bike to Build featured a couple of Spirit Rider teams. One was Jeff’s Hope and another was Team Danny Jenkins.
Jeff’s Hope commemorated the life of Jeff Miller, an avid cyclist and Habitat supporter who was a staunch supporter of Bike to Build. Miller lost a courageous battle to cancer this year. His wife, Leigh Miller, was on hand at this year’s event at the staging area at Bradley Central High School where she sold “Jeff’s Hope” T-shirts to raise funds for Habitat.
“The official Spirit Rider for the Jeff’s Hope team was cycling friend Joe Schnebel,” Kinworthy said. She quoted Schnebel who said in a news media interview, “I’m honored to do it because me and Jeff used to ride a lot all the time, and I knew he was a competitive guy. I had to go out there and ride for him.”
Kinworthy pointed to another “pillar of strength” at the 2012 event — Danny Jenkins, a cyclist whose biking accident last year left him paralyzed.
“His love for the cycling community and his heart for Habitat were apparent when he crossed the finish line in a wheelchair,” Kinworthy offered. “His face lit with the biggest smile of the day.”
Kinworthy gave full credit for the success of Bike to Build to its volunteers, sponsors and a growing army of supporters who share a believe in Habitat for Humanity and its mission to work with deserving families who are willing to work to improve their lives by realizing the dream of home ownership.
“Thanks to volunteers like Brian Welch, brave women like Leigh Miller and courageous spirits like Danny Jenkins, Habitat for Humanity and the greater Cleveland community have been exposed to incredible stores of people who understand the value of never giving up,” Kinworthy stressed.
Sponsors for the 2012 Bike to Build included a variety of area business, organizations and churches. The Main Event sponsor was Toyota of Cleveland. The Frame Sponsor was Jim Rush Funeral Homes. The Foundation Sponsors were Cooke’s Food Store, Shane’s Rib Shack, Lee Cycling Club, First Presbyterian Church, Scott’s Bikes, Deli-Boys, Mars Inc., Subway, Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland Staff and Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland Board of Directors.
Contributing Sponsors were Pioneer Credit Company, Regions, Detour DJ & Audio, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and Tricon.
Kinworthy offered a special tribute for their support to Bradley Central High School, Cleveland Police Department and the Cleveland Amateur Radio Club.
In the Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland newsletter, Executive Director Matt Carlson pointed to the framework that is the first step to building the Habitat vision.
“In the Habitat world, the framework for a strong foundation starts long before we ever swing a hammer,” Carlson said. “We teach sustainability and independence through education and giving back. Habitat’s model of home ownership works to empower families. But building a strong foundation for our families goes back even further.”
He added, “It starts when the first community member steps forward and says, ‘What can I do to help make a difference?’ That is a powerful, life-changing question that will impact the volunteer and the organization, and in the end it will produce a set of keys to a brand new life for a family.”
In 2011, local Habitat volunteers gave more than 30,000 hours of service to the organization.
Carlson said area residents give volunteer hours to Habitat because of a shared vision of “... looking to make a difference in the life of someone who has a need; families working alongside families, building homes, build hope, building a framework for a better life.”
Later this week, on Thursday, Habitat for Humanity will dedicate another group of new homes in Century Village which is located on 20th Street adjacent to Blythe-Bower Elementary School.
Later this year, the organization will celebrate the construction of its 100th home on Dec. 5. The home will provide a future life for the family of Sylvester and Stella Hetiback. Originally from Micronesia, the Hetibacks left their island, Pollap, in 2001 with the hope of providing better opportunities for their children in the U.S. The couple has four kids — Sylvanna, 15; Veston, 14; Vesrod, 12; and Stelson, 7.
Kinworthy pointed to a Biblical scripture that tells the Habitat story: “Do not grow weary in doing good, for you shall reap a harvest if you will not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9-10)
Contacting Habitat: Those wishing additional information about Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland, or who wish to offer service as a volunteer or as a home build or event sponsor, may contact the organization at 423-476-6947 or send an email to Kinworthy at firstname.lastname@example.org.