Pathways Inc, Lynn MA
2022 Mutt Society Bike Drive
100 Kids on Bikes
LYNN, MA: In January, Mutt Society board member, Tania Lillak mentioned that she frequently volunteered at Pathways, Inc. in Lynn and there might be some opportunity for us to help. We started discussions early in 2022 and finally came to a list of 101 kids who would benefit from a bicycle.
Pathways is a non-profit organization driven to help low income adults learn English and study for their GED to progress their lives and the lives of their families. In their free, adult education programs, they annually assist over 250 families residing in the North Shore of Massachusetts.
Once we started to gather the bikes, we realized that 100 bikes was much different than our previous record of 35 bikes at Lazarus House, Lawrence. In order to accumulate all of the needed styles and sizes for the 101 children, we forecasted needing to gather around 200 bikes.
Makeshift Bike Shop
As we gathered bikes, we realized that no local bike shop would be able to work on the volume of bikes we needed help with. In light of that, we built a makeshift bike shop in the basement and started to work on bikes every night.
The day of the event
After months of planning, we packed the 16 foot Penske rental up with 125 bikes and made the trek down to Lynn, MA for one of the best days of the summer. Michael Bernier showed up with all the energy in the world and helped with announcing the event. And the Pathways, Inc. staff helped immensely in event management and the intricate logistics of matching each child with a bike.
During the event, Brett and the team helped make some final adjustments on bikes, made sure the bike was sized correctly, and fitted kids with helmets if possible. This aspect of the event is something we will focus on more in 2023…no matter how much work you do to fit the kids perfectly, there are always last minute changes that need to be accomodated.
Local Businesses and Support
As we planned for the event, we believed it was important to get some local businesses involved. The Pathways, Inc. team made connection with several different vendors and finally put together a group of individuals who were excited to attend and help with keeping the kids and families hydrated and fed. Thank you to the following organizations:
An immense shoutout to a Mutt-for-life and incredibly talented photographer: Derrick Souza.
His instagram is @dks0usa and he provided us with all of these amazing photos (except the terrible ones, those ones I took at HQ).
In Memorium: Tony Monteiro
The event was in memory of Anthony J Monteiro. Tony was a proud Air Force Veteran and avid outdoorsman; passionate about fishing, skiing, and mountain biking.
His family is devoted to honoring Tony by annually helping a young person experience what it is like to find the freedom and happiness of owning their own bike. In their words:
“Our family wanted to create an annual event to make someone else happy and feel joy in Tony’s memory. There is nothing like seeing the smile and hearing the excitement in a youngster when they are with their new bike!”