Prospect Park should be overrun with more bikes than usual tomorrow, as New York non-profit The Osborne Association is sponsoring RIDE FOR RIGHTS, a charity bike-a-thon which aims to raise awareness and funds for children of incarcerated parents across the five boroughs. The event, which is in its third year, is co-produced by the Youth Action Council (YAC)–The Osborne Association’s semester long program for teens aged between 15-18 who have experienced parental incarceration at some point in their lives.
The YAC’s students are part of a much larger national demographic of children whose families have been affected by the criminal justice system, even though group members have never been convicted of crimes themselves. A report authored by the Pew Charitable Trusts in 2010 said that over 1.2 million inmates were parents of children under the age of 18 in that year, and notes that the “growth of incarceration in America has intergenerational impacts that policy makers will have to confront.”
To that end, the YAC’s mission statement says the group intends to “inform, advocate, influence and collaborate to create positive changes in the criminal justice system” by shaping policies that affect their lives.
Osborne Association Communications Director Jonathan Stenger says the group produces fundraising events like the bike-a-thon with very little outside assistance. “The idea for the bike-a-thon came 100% from the YAC members,” he said via email, mentioning that the teens often have part-time jobs in addition to being full-time students.
“YAC members are all in school and many also have jobs so they do not have the time to coordinate a full event. They are very actively involved with planning and coordinating it and the day of they all have responsibilities to make sure the day goes smoothly, ” he says.
Stenger adds that all of the event’s proceeds will “fund additional advocacy and awareness-raising activities of the YAC (such as traveling to other youth organizations or presenting at conferences) and then a portion of the proceeds raised are donated to a nonprofit of the YAC’s choosing.”
The winding course around Prospect Park will open at 10:30 tomorrow morning for registration, and cyclists will begin churning the pedals at 11:00 when the bike-a-thon begins.
All of the details, including suggested donation information, can be found here.
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