1 Year on and Jetblack makes a difference.
500km separates the Jetblack riders from the teenage boys of Manilla. And yet there is a strong bond between the two groups.
Manilla hits the statistics for the lowest socio economic community in Australia. Like some regional towns we battle long term unemployment, large numbers of single parent families, alcohol, drugs and high rates of domestic violence.
For some kids in Manilla owning a bike is a privilege, family holidays are non existent and joining a sporting group is financially impossible.
It has been 1 year since Wayne Strachan, Michael Brown and I put our heads together to clean up the “bike junk” in the shed. When the word got out, donations poured in the form of bikes, wheel sets, tyres, shoes, jerseys, seats, helmets, etc. I was really overwhelmed by the generosity. After presentation each trip I always receive more brand new equipment, Pickles helmet he won was too small, Ron gave me his $50 voucher from Cell to buy something for the boys, gloves that don’t fit, 26” tyres or 9 speed clusters, etc. Most of which I have mentally allocated to a child before I reach Manilla.
Lake Keepit: a fun day out with the boys and Jan
So you may wonder what has been achieved so far with the support of Jetblack, well:
• We have a fleet of 8 bikes to be used for school sport. I also lend these bikes to the kids during the school holidays. This means that there are 8 more butts on bike seats.
• Most of the kids now have a ride jersey, ride shoes and a bottle cage.
• Hanging in my shed I have a selection of wheel sets, tyres of various sizes and spare parts. This means I can get their bikes back on the road. Many of these families cant afford a new tyre.
I’m often asked why I do this? And some days I ask myself the same question. I attempt to provide friendship through Mountain Biking and a sense of purpose and direction. I believe in the power of sport to change lives and can see how this contribution helps make a difference in the lives of these disadvantaged children. I’m not alone, I have the support of my partner JJ (fixing bikes), Jan (her patience is much appreciated), my parents Vic and Carol (cooking the sausages, biscuits and transporting kids) and few other local citizens.
I also have the support from my Jetblack family through the equipment provided, acceptance of the boys that I have brought to races but mostly the encouragement I receive from you all to reassure me that it does enhance these boys lives.
If anybody would like to help out with this great cause, speak to a member of the team or email firstname.lastname@example.org
A special thanks to Chris for kindly donating this bike to Nardeen as well as all the team members who have donated heaps of spares and bikes since the start of the season.