Project Angel – 2008 Alexander Youth Network
The Dirt Divas continued our tradition of giving back to the community in 2008. Our Project Angel Initiative has been our tool to raise money and give bicycles to children who would otherwise not have one. The recipient of the 2008 Project Angel bicycles is near and dear to my heart, Alexander Youth Network.
I was introduced to Alexander by one of our founding members, Laura Smith-Williams, who at that time was working for them in their fundraising efforts. I have participated in a Bible study for the children there twice a month for the past 4 years. Alexander Youth Network is North Carolina’s leading provider of children’s behavioral healthcare. They work with children between 6 and 16 who have serious emotional problems usually brought on by some type of abuse. They serve over 2600 children each year, of which 60 live on their campus in east Charlotte full time. The children usually stay in the full time care for 3-6 months before returning home or being placed in foster care. Then, they come back for as long as needed for day treatment. Alexander provides counseling, group therapy and recreational therapy to help the children learn new patterns of behavior. I did not know that they already had a short bicycle trail on campus and plans to start a bicycling program when I approached them to see if they needed equipment.
The Dirt Divas were the recipient of a generous grant from REI of $10,000 in 2008 with the assistance of our own Linda Hudson, who is also an REI employee. We wanted to pay it forward, so Alexander Youth Network was chosen as one of the beneficiaries. We were able to give more than our typical raffle, donations and fundraising had allowed in the past. Patty Smith, Cathi Mowery, Stephanie Nelson, Linda Hudson and I made the delivery to Ann Church, Beth Jones and Stern Dixon at Alexander Youth Network. We delivered four 26 inch Novara bicycles, one 24 inch bicycle, one 20 inch bicycle, 6 helmets, 6 pairs of gloves, 6 water bottles, a pump, a work stand, tubes, and lube. I look forward to hearing exciting stories from the children once the weather improves and they get to enjoy the bicycles.