United Against Poverty recently announced that Rev. Scott Alexander and Jake Piper are currently undergoing training to prepare for their upcoming ride across America to raise awareness and funds to support the organization’s Success Training for Employment Program (STEP).
Both Alexander and Piper, who are championing the “Two Guys Against Poverty” ride, will bare over $12,000 in costs to be part of the cross-country trek. The “two guys” also extend an invitation to the community to become part of the movement by making a charitable donation that will benefit the nonprofit organization’s STEP workforce development program.
“It’s our hope that contributions from the community will support training and mentoring for at least 20 STEP participants in 2017,” explained Rev. Alexander. “Although this ride is an endurance test of our ability to overcome the challenges we face while we are on the road, it does not compare to the challenges that many people in poverty face in their daily lives. Through the community’s support for STEP, they can learn the skills they need to get a job, keep it and reach economic self sufficiency.”
In 2016, STEP provided job acquisition, workforce and emotional intelligence skills training for 100 people who found jobs at over 60 local employers with an annualized wage impact of $2.4 million. STEP participants are also provided job coaching throughout employment until they reach economic self-sufficiency (over 200 percent federal poverty guidelines.) There are currently 144 STEP participants who are receiving job coaching.
The cyclists’ will dip their wheels into the Pacific Ocean as they begin their adventure on April 22, in Costa Mesa, CA, and following 3,400 miles on the road, they’ll dip their wheels in the Atlantic Ocean on May 25 in Amesbury, MA. A celebration “Splash Party” is planned for May 30, at 5 p.m. at Waldo’s Restaurant.
This ride is the first for Piper and the fifth for Alexander to benefit charity. Alexander has raised over $90,000 for United Against Poverty on two cross-country treks. The 2017 ride goal is $50,0000. In 2016, STEP was supported through private contributions, family foundations and the support of John’s Island Community Service League, Bank of America Foundation, Grand Harbor Community Outreach, Indian River Club Outreach Foundation, Impact 100 of Indian River County and the Educational Foundation of America.
Two upcoming training rides are planned for February 11 and March 11 and area cyclists are invited to join in. Information will be posted on UPIRC.org one week prior to each ride. Additionally, a “Blessing of the Bikes” will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Vero Beach on April 12. Visit UPIRC.org or call 772-770-0740 for event and donation information.