Friday, January 12, 2007

100 Bikes Donated to Hollywood PAL

Hollywood PAL Bike Donation 3
Originally uploaded by CD-13.
DRC Emergency Services is an Alabama-based disaster company whose emergency construction and disaster management services were employed in stabilizing New Orleans after Katrina. I joined Mark Stafford, a vice president from their company, at a ceremony outside of the Hollywood Division police station where he presented 100 bikes to the Hollywood Police Activities League (PAL), ably represented by board member Kerry Morrison and three girls who participate in PAL. Hollywood PAL provides young people with positive alternatives to gangs and drugs. Their youth program has been so successful that DRC decided to reach across the country and offer their aid in helping to brighten the future for Hollywood’s children.

The gift of a bicycle—precious in the Hollywood flats, whose low incomes and often-cramped conditions reflect a different reality than the one we usually associated with the name "Hollywood"--means more than hours of exercise and enjoyment. Riding a bike teaches a different way of seeing your neighborhood, your city, and your community. A few riders will make it to the beach. A few will make it to the mountains. Maybe a few will make it to the Tour de France. Maybe they will see their bikes not just as a once-in-a-while activity but, as they grow up, part of their commute to work. Hollywood has already begun its transformation into a walkable community, and these bikes are a symbol of where their community, and the city, is going.