December Recap: Team OAM NOW in the Community

January 19th, 2015 by Team OAM NOW / Athletic Mentors

By Jim Allan, Team OAM Now athlete

greenhouse pedalOn Saturday, December 6th,Team OAM Now/Athletic Mentors team members participated in a great fundraiser for Habitat For Humanity by spinning at the Koetsier Greenhouse along with (70) other local athletes. Each hour of spinning was led by a spirited instructor who provided a great workout while collecting funds for a good cause.

The group representing Team OAM Now  included Marie Dershem, Roxane Kippen, Larry Strayhorn, Dan Gauthier, Steve Buccella, Peter Chadwick, and Jim Allan. This is the second year we’ve participated in a fundraiser at this facility; we consider ourselves incredibly fortunate to have these opportunities, especially when we can pedal to make a difference.


elvesThen, on Saturday, December 13th the annual bicycle build for Elves and More West Michigan occurred with outstanding success. This organization collects donations and conducts fundraisers throughout the year in order to buy un-assembled bicycles. Volunteers then have the opportunity to assemble these bicycles for distribution in one Southwest Michigan neighborhood a year. The organization hopes the gift of a bike will lead the students to a healthier lifestyle and provide them with much needed transportation to and from school. Again, a group of Team OAM Now members had the privilege to participate this year. Team members Roxane Kippen, Bob Schultz, Greg Neagos, Steve Buccella, Dan Gauthier, Peter Chadwick, Mike Hoogerland, Jim Allan, friends of the team Alan Moore and Mari-Megan Moore helped and great assistance from Steve’s 93 year old father Paul!

After a period of on-the-job training and a few rejected bicycles, our process was refined and we worked like a well-oiled machine, like a team. There were a few un-reported cuts that shouldn’t impact any performance, and we had a good time helping.

Despite the frantic activity in a warehouse setting, this is always a fun activity. In our building frenzy, we did not capture the total number of bikes we built, but a consensus from the skilled team suggested that it was in excess of (50) bicycles. Overall, there were over 1000 bicycles built for distribution in Grand Rapids neighborhood on Saturday December 20th!



Finally, on December 18th, team members participated in the annual fundraiser sponsored at Striders Running Store called the Sleigh Bell Shuffle. This year, the collection of donations benefited The Kids Food Basket and Toys For Tots. Striders supplies a lot of great raffle prizes as well as cookies and cocoa for all the participants. The highlight of the evening was a run through the local neighborhood to enjoy the Christmas decorations.

Two of the things we love best are working as a team and giving back to our communities, particularly when we can do it in a way that really reflects who we are. These opportunities not only provided both, but gave us a way to celebrate the end of a great season! While we’re looking forward to getting back on the road, we’re also looking forward to volunteering together again.


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