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    Goodwill Program Gives Bikes to Needy Children, Job Training to Unemployed Workers

    Rows of bikes ready to be distributed through the Santa Wheels programGoodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA teamed up with local organizations this month to provide more than 200 Augusta-area children with bicycles and helmets as part of the community’s annual ‘Santa Wheels’ program. Goodwill has been involved with the program since 2006, contributing 1,035 volunteer hours and distributing more than 600 bicycles to deserving children.

    Partners on the Santa Wheels project include local Master Buick GMC, Master Chevrolet Cadillac, Andy Jordan’s Bicycle Warehouse and Safe Kids East Central.

    “When Master Buick GMC called and offered to help Goodwill trainees learn valuable job skills by mentoring them to refurbish the donated bikes, we were thrilled,” said President and CEO Jim Stiff. “ We are very eager to help people who are unemployed land a job before Christmas and to help deserving children get a bike for Christmas.”

    Children were selected via an application process conducted by Goodwill’s job connections center. Many children who received bikes have parents enrolled in Goodwill’s programs. The bicycles were given to the children at a “bike rodeo” on December 15.

    The partnership benefits more than the children and families who receive the bikes – it also helps people supports job training for Goodwill Industries trainees who are seeking to enter the workforce.

    Eight trainees in Goodwill’s WORKing Solutions, a program serving individuals who are homeless, have been earning a paycheck while refurbishing bikes since October and have learned valuable job skills from volunteer mentors while repairing and reconditioning donated bicycles.

    Goodwill pays the program participants to revamp the bikes four days per week with one day set aside for job search training and advisement at South Augusta’s One Stop Career Center. Through this process of learning job skills, four of the trainees have already gained employment.

    Visit the Santa Wheels Facebook page to learn more about the program and see pictures from this year’s efforts, or visit WFXG to see video from the event.

    Jenni B. Baker
    Jenni B. Baker was a member of Goodwill Industries International’s digital team from 2009-2016. In her role, she supported content strategy and development for Goodwill’s digital properties, including Goodwill’s public blog and email newsletters.
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    • Veronica Ross
      December 21st, 2011 at 1:13 pm

      I need to say that spitting up the Berks County stores was a bad idea. With the price of gas it is not fesible to drive 3 places, when before I only had to go to one store to find everything. Think about it in Shillington you have people who ride the bus there. Before one store, now if they want bin cloths they have to find a ride out Perkiomen. The price of gas prohibits me from driving to 3 stores. I think you did the comunnity a disservice by doing this. PLEASE rethink your decision. You can have 3 stores that sell everything. Not 3 stores that sell just one thing.

    • Clay Dowell
      December 22nd, 2011 at 1:32 am

      To whom it may concern
      I am the father of two autistic children.We live in west palm and shop at our local goodwill stores weekly. We find a lot of our needs and it also provides us with a family outing. I am reaching out because our 9 year old autistic son can’t balance a bike and I need to find him a three wheeler. While all the kids in the neighbor hood are riding there bikes he is left out or has to run along with them. We can pay for one but we just can’t afford a new one. I have tried everywhere with no luck in our price range. If you could help us in any way it would be appreciated.

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