How and when did the non-profit get started?
It was started by Brian Miner and Tim House 15 years ago. They were two local bicycle racers who wanted to see what they could do to help make a change. It got started when they heard of another Elves & More group in Texas and modeled theirs after that one.
What are the mission and vision of the non-profit?
The mission is simple:
- Design programs to meet the needs of children which are not being met, focusing on an entire neighborhood.
- Mobilize financial and human resources to implement these programs.
What is your focus in now? Who do you help and why?
Our focus is deserving neighborhoods where some of the parents may not have the resources to give a gift like a bicycle around Christmas. Our “Why?” is covered by the philosophy and the numbers that support it.
Today there are 2.1 million people in prison in our nation. Most are undereducated, poor, young males from underprivileged areas. The problem is growing worse as the prison population has grown six-fold in just 30 years — 15 times faster then the overall population as a whole. Consider this: for the same $40,000 society spends to keep one person in prison for one year, Elves & More can buy and deliver new bicycles to about 1,000 children.
If just 1 out of 1,000 of our children uses his or her bike to get a mentor to guide them, that results in that child avoiding a single year of prison; then our program makes sound economic sense. The other 999 children get a nice gift and our support, which is more than they expected.
We believe we are helping more than 1 of our 1,000, not for a single year, but for their lifetime.
Where is the non-profit headed? What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
We are headed for more bikes, in more communities. This past year, we reached out to help neighborhoods in Cleveland and Canton and plan to reach other areas that could use such an event in Northeast Ohio.
How can people get involved? (Volunteer, donate, support, etc.)
Volunteer opportunities come up around the Christmas season to help build and pass out bicycles. Our largest need is financial. (You can donate on their website.) Our average cost to get a bicycle is $60, and with Elves & More being 100% volunteer, $0.96 of every $1.00 goes straight into purchasing bicycles.
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Special thanks to Josh Troche, an Elves & More volunteer, for sending these answers and providing photos. If you’d like a non-profit you’re involved with to be featured on the Everyday Akron blog, please reach out.