Newest CaN Center and 'bike ministry' PDF Print E-mail

Stefanie Knowlton of Statesman Journal 9/21/2014


Two programs with a proven track record of teaching bike repair skills and providing two-wheel transportation to people in need are joining forces to open a community cycling center.

The folks behind NW HUB and 2nd Chance Bicycle Recycling program hope to open a center as soon as they raise the money or find a donor for a bigger space. Second Chance started two years ago at Hillcrest Youth Correctional Facility to give youths a chance to learn skills and give back.

NW HUB opened last year and offers residents the chance to earn a bike by putting in the hours at the shop to “pay” for it. The makeshift bike shop springs up at Evergreen Church three times a week with volunteers and bike parts spilling out into the courtyard on Cottage Street NE.

At first bike seekers trickled in, but now there’s a flood of low-income and homeless residents working to earn their wheels. So far 150 people have put in their time and several have stuck around to hone their repair skills. Inspired by their interest, growing calls for low-cost bike repair and a ton of donated bikes, founder Kirk Seyfert wants to open the nonprofit cycling center in Salem soon.

“A cooperative cycling center would provide transitional employment and even long-term employment,” Seyfert said.

It would give volunteers such as R.J. Dorn a chance to turn his newfound skills into a career. Dorn volunteers nearly every day and managed the operation while Seyfert was on vacation this summer.

“I showed up the second week of March, and I never left,” Dorn said. “It’s given me something to do, and it’s kept me out of trouble.”

But at the end of the day he is still a volunteer and that doesn’t pay the bills. Dorn is unemployed and struggles with homelessness, and a job would be a game changer.

Seyfert is partnering with two former colleagues from Santiam Bicycle, Aaron Ryals and Cory Heintz, who run 2nd Chance Bicycle Recycling program inside Hillcrest Youth Correctional Facility. Youth in the program learn how to fix bikes, which they donate to families in need.

“We really need to pool our resources because we’re working toward similar goals,” Heintz said.

Both programs would continue as is, but the trio would partner to start the cycling center, which would benefit both programs and the community. A cycling center, similar to the one in Portland, would provide free and low-cost training, offer jobs and be a resource for affordable bikes and repairs charged on a sliding scale.

Hub Gives Skills, Wheels PDF Print E-mail

February 16, 2014

Stefanie Knowlton

Word is spreading that if you need a bike, you can find one at the Hub. But you have to be willing to work for it.

The Hub is a small bike shop in the old boiler room at Evergreen Church of Salem on Cottage Street NE. Neighbors, homeless residents, at-risk yout

h and adults released from prison can pick up a bike once they’ve put in the hours to “pay” for it.

Cory Reed started working on a silver Giant mountain bike on Wednesday. Once he logs four hours at $20 an hour, he can ride it home. He likes working for his ride, he said.

“I really like the idea that you guys just don’t hand people bikes,” he said. “You earn it.”

Reed will not only leave with a bike but also with the skills he learned at the shop. Director Kirk Seyfert hopes workers such as Reed will come back to the Hub and share those skills with others.

“You will always have access to the tools whenever we’re open,” he told Reed. “Eventually I hope you know enough, and I know you well enough, that you can open the shop.”

Seyfert, who is the outreach minister at Evergreen, used to run Santiam Bicycle and raced for more than a decade. He got the idea for the Hub while working with homeless people at Union Gospel Mission. Some of the residents walk several miles a day to go to work or to look for a job.

Faithfully Serving Salem's Schools PDF Print E-mail

Heather Rayhorn, Statesman Journal 4:25 p.m. PDT October 18, 2014

While attending McKay High School, a young, troubled Carlos Morales Fernandez found role models, friendships and answers through a ministry called Young Life.

Fernandez grew up in church but said he had a hard time relating and often thought it boring.

"God was real but never personal; (he was) distant," he remembered about his childhood.

Before his sophomore year at McKay, his childhood sense of safety dissolved when a friend drowned in the Willamette River, leaving him depressed and burdened with questions.

"I was confused because he was a good guy," he said.

It was soon after when he started attending Young Life, a national non-denominational Christian ministry that makes itself available to students.

"Young Life leader Ronald Cruz came into my dark place," Fernandez said.

Cruz invited him to Young Life's high school summer camp at Washington Family Ranch Canyon in Central Oregon. When Fernandez said he couldn't afford it, he was told not to worry. His way would be paid.

At camp during one-on-one time, Cruz asked about his life.

"I opened up to him," Fernandez said. "I was honest for the first time. I saw he was genuine and saw the love of Christ through him."

Fernandez said it was that camp that sparked a journey not just with the Lord but with Young Life.

He has been back to the Young Life camp every summer since, two years now as a volunteer leader in the middle school version of the camp.

During his high school years, Young Life shaped his faith, but it also became part of his vision to make the program available to middle school students at Parrish Middle School, his stomping grounds before McKay.

Since graduating high school in 2012, Fernandez has done just that through Young Life's younger sibling, WyldLife.

Free Clinic at Salem Alliance Church is "CaN" do PDF Print E-mail

Salem Free Clinics expects same patient volume in 2014
Written by Stefanie Knowlton (December 5, 2013)

It started eight years ago in the gym at Walker Middle School with a volunteer doctor and two nurses from West Salem Foursquare Church.

They treated residents without insurance in a makeshift clinic that they built and tore down every other Saturday. They reached 60 patients per month.

In 2008, volunteers teamed up with Salem Alliance Church to expand the clinic and move it to Portland Road. They then added a new space at Broadway Commons.

Now Salem Free Clinics includes four sites and serves 600 patients per month for medical, dental and mental health care.

Executive Director Todd Gould doesn’t expect the need to change anytime soon, even with the Affordable Care Act going into effect in 2014.

“We run into people who say come Jan. 1 we’re all good,” he said. “That couldn’t be further from the truth.”

He has run the numbers for a family of four making $40,000. It would cost anywhere from $67 to $350 per month for insurance and the lower price tag comes with deductibles as high as $5,000.

“This is very cost-prohibitive for the families who are fighting for their lives to keep a roof over their heads.”

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