An area non-profit is calling on the community to rev up its engine and go full throttle for a good cause. All are invited to "Ride For Hope" this weekend to help the group help teens across the region.
The House Of Hope Central Virginia deals with adolescents dealing with emotional issues and risky behaviors, offering them a safe haven and counseling services to help turn their lives around. That also includes mandatory family therapy, so when the teen does return home, there is likely a more understanding environment to return to.
Mike Williams is a veteran motorcyclist and avid House Of Hope supporter. Before taking his ride up to the Charlottesville area, Williams and his wife checked out the House Of Hope in Orlando, and got behind the cause.
"It does make a difference," Williams said.
Standing next to his shiny set of wheels, Williams explained the difference he has seen the House Of Hope make in the lives of troubled teens. He says these kids deal with everything from drug addiction to intense bullying, but the one-on-one attention they get over the course of the 9 to 18 months of the program is key to their success.
"Kids are looking for anybody who's going to give them attention, good or bad. And unfortunately," Williams noted. "When they are lacking the good attention, they draw closer and closer to bad."
So why a ride? Williams says despite the "rough and tough" stereotype some may have for bikers, the groups who ride are some of the most tight-knit and compassionate communities he has ever come across. He's also hoping anyone without a motorcycle feels welcome at the event, which will also include live music, food, and kids activities.
"It's an entire community that's being asked to come out in support. Doesn't matter if you ride or walk or bike or whatever it is," Williams said.
Any donations will go toward a plot of land to construct the non-profit's headquarters on. Habitat For Humanity and Lowes have already agreed to build a house for the organization, but they need a piece of property.
Before strapping on his helmet and driving off, Williams explained the dire and growing need for this service in the community. He says House Of Hope Central Virginia will provide an alternative for teens in danger of going to jail, and the program addresses the issues head-on.
"The youth in the community are in need," Williams added.
"Ride For Hope" runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Cornerstone Church Of Albemarle. The 75-mile motorcycle trek begins around 11 a.m. and will run a couple of hours. The route will take drivers up Routes 151 and 56, and over to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Cars are also invited to join, and admission is $20 per vehicle. The rest of the event is free and open to the public.
Dannika Lewis joined the NBC29 news team as a general assignment reporter in June 2010. She started her ventures in broadcast news at Elon University where she graduated with a bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism. Email/Follow on Twitter/ Full Story