Donate
News

Bike Jerseys Benefit Shelter’s Kids

Bike Jerseys Benefit Shelter’s Kids

“I was moved that he was able to take his passion for cycling and use that in his work for the center,” she says. “So many people just see cycling as a sport, but for our residents, a bicycle is how they get to their jobs and appointments. They don’t have cars. Their bikes are very important. Having a job is useless if you don’t have a way to get to it.”

By Sean Clancy

Photo by RICK MCFARLAND

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Full article here.

This article was published December 22, 2013 at 3:29 a.m.

Imagine the bike rack outside Our House, that shiny tangle of metal and spokes and wheels over there. It’s overflowing, and no wonder. For many of those at Little Rock’s shelter for the working homeless, those two-wheelers – inexpensive mountain bikes and city cruisers – aren’t there for recreation alone. Many are primary transportation – to a job, a job interview, the bus stop, a friend’s place.

So imagine the idea Our House board member and avid cyclist Chris Schaffhauser had, looking at all those bikes and making the connection in his mind with that other community he’s intimately acquainted with, the pedaling community.

“I’ve been involved with Our House now for six or seven years,”says Schaffhauser, a blue-eyed and youthful 48-year-old, inside a tiny office at the shelter off Roosevelt Road.

It was through his job at UPS, which has sponsored Our House fundraisers and events, and where he has worked for 27 years, that the Helena native started volunteering at the shelter.

“Our House is about the working homeless,” he says. “The adults here have to get full-time employment, and some of them have to have a bicycle to get to work. They don’t have a car. Bicycles are big here at Our House, [and] not only for the adults but also for the kids.”

So Schaffhauser, who rides a sleek, black-and-blue Orbea road bike made of carbon fiber in amateur tours all over Arkansas, Florida and Colorado, and the week-long The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, aka RAGBRAI, decided to design and sell a cycling jersey branded with the Our House logo.

Proceeds from the $75 jerseys, made by popular Denver-based cycling-clothing maker Primal Wear, will go toward items for the shelter’s new 19,000-squarefoot, $4.1 million children’s center, which is expected to open on the Our House campus on Roosevelt Road in the shadow of Interstate 30 on May 1.

“This is going to go toward other needs for the facility,” Schaffhauser says. “It may go toward playground equipment, or some furniture for the children’s center.”

A cycling jersey is often used as a kind of rolling billboard, and the Our House top is no different.The brightly colored jerseys, which feature three handy pockets in the back, are emblazoned with the Our House logo as well as the shelter’s Capital Campaign logo. The logos of corporate sponsors who helped offset the cost of producing the jerseys are also featured.

How many does Schaffhauser expect to sell? 200?

“I’d be doing back flips if we could sell that many,” he laughs. But about 40 have already been ordered.

The jerseys are available in men’s and women’s sizes and can be ordered at Ourhouseshelter.org.

“Certainly with the growth of the River Trail and the bridges system – the Big Dam Bridge, Two Rivers Bridge and the Clinton Bridge – Little Rock has become a very big bike town,” Schaffhauser says, though even cyclists from outside central Arkansas may want to show their support of Our House with a new jersey.

Schaffhauser grew up in Helena and moved to Little Rock in 1985, earning a degree in mechanical engineering technology from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1988. He and his wife, Lori, have three daughters, Sarah, 22, Rachel, 16, and 11-year-old Katherine.

Our House director Georgia Mjartan was happy to see Schaffhauser make the leap between his cycling hobby and fundraising for the center.

“I was moved that he was able to take his passion for cycling and use that in his work for the center,” she says. “So many people just see cycling as a sport, but for our residents, a bicycle is how they get to their jobs and appointments. They don’t have cars. Their bikes are very important. Having a job is useless if you don’t have a way to get to it.”

Our House gives shelter to more than 100 people on any given night, Assistant Director Ben Goodwin says. “Over the course of a year, almost 1,000 people live here. We also serve outside clients, including former residents and particularly children.”

The new children’s center, he says, will help the shelter better serve families even after they have moved out.

“We have a licensed, curriculum-based childhood development center in the new children’s center for 52 children up to age 5,” Goodwin says. An after-school program for kids ages 6-17 is also available, he says, adding that the new center is expected to serve about 140 children a day.

With adult residents required to have full-time jobs, child care becomes an issue,Goodwin says.

“Over the past seven years we’ve really begun investing and making sure that our children’s programs really meet the needs of the kids that we serve, who sometimes bear the hardest brunt of being homeless. For a lot of our kids, this is the most stable home they have ever had.”

And among the playgrounds and classrooms of the new two-story center is a snaking bicycle track for younger kids just learning to ride. Bicycling, in short, is part of the curriculum.

“It goes around the entire playground,” Goodwin says. “It’s got some loops and parking spaces for bikes and a rumble strip.”

For Schaffhauser, his bicycle has taken him down many miles of road, but he knows that for some, riding isn’t a hobby or a fitness regimen. It’s locomotion.

Whatever the route or the reason, he wants to spread the word among his fellow recreational riders about the work done by Our House.

“We’ve had a lot of people who were really interested in helping us with this,” he says. “And not only helping Our House, but also in seeing an Our House cycling jersey out on the River Trail.”

High Profile, Pages 37 on 12/22/2013

Print Headline: Bike jerseys benefit shelter’s kids

Tagged: , , , , , , ,

0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *