Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Success Story of LIFT Bike Project Recipient

Bill earned a bike from the LIFT Bike Project in the spring of 2011.

After working over 25 years in the hospitality industry and working his way up to managerial positions, Bill Viera was laid off from his hotel job in 2007.  He lived off of his savings for three years and struggled to find work, and he was eventually forced into a homeless shelter. With the help of a long-term advocate, Bill was able to turn his life around with a new job with a local retailer, better healthcare, and renewed optimism about finding a permanent home.

Living in the shelter, Bill continued volunteering as a cook for residents to maintain his skills.  The shelter referred Bill to LIFT, and Bill’s advocate Brittni worked with him to first find employment so that he could save up for permanent housing.  LIFT worked with Bill to create a resume, prepare for interviews, and improve his computer proficiency, and also linked him to free interview attire and computer classes.  Brittni  quickly realized that Bill's dental and heart issues were preventing him from securing employment, both physically and in employers’ perceptions of him.  She says, "Bill's teeth were literally rotting out of his head.  While we worked to resolve Bill’s insurance issues, we looked into Boston Healthcare for the Homeless, which offers free health care for homeless individuals. We were able to set him up with a regular primary care physician as well as a dentist."  The dentist extracted his rotten teeth and made plans to fit him for dentures.  Eventually LIFT was able to not only resolve his insurance issues, but upgrade his coverage package, in addition to setting personal health and weight loss goals that have enabled Bill to enjoy the new bicycle he received from LIFT.

Of his journey, Bill says, "Other organizations would maybe do an orientation with me then send me on my way. LIFT had a more hands-on and personal approach.  I was in a spiral when I first came in, but immediately after working with LIFT I was calmer. My advocate didn’t let me get down or depressed, and she assured me success would happen. Most importantly, LIFT made me feel important and I wasn’t feeling that way at the time when I first came in.  Now, I love my job. Interacting with people is just amazing.  I am so much happier, I smile a lot more. I see myself managing the store, volunteering, and teaching.  I see myself housed.  Now that I’ve been homeless, I really want to help more because there is a need for more voices out there for the homeless."

Source: http://www.liftcommunities.org/boston/our-work/clients/item/498-bill-viera

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Make a tax-deductible donation!

Your donations are needed to help us buy new parts for refurbished bikes, new helmets, and new locks! Please follow these simple steps to make your donation today!
1.       Go to http://www.liftcommunities.org/
2.       On the upper right corner, click the orange button labeled as “DONATE”
3.      When this page is open, scroll down to where it says: “I would like to designate my gift to a specific office”. Click on the drop down menu and select “Boston” as the office you want your gift to be directed to.
4.       Continue and scroll down to the bottom of this page, up to section designated for “Additional Information” and type “Gift for LIFT Bike Project” on the box for additional comments. Once you are done, just click “Continue” to complete your donation.

Friday, February 11, 2011

What is the LIFT Boston Bike Project?

Hi all!

The LIFT Boston Bike Project is a program to provide homeless and low-income LIFT clients living in the Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston areas with free helmets, locks, and refurbished bicycles. LIFT is a nonprofit which helps combat poverty by pairing trained volunteers with homeless and low-income clients. Volunteers work one-on-one with clients on a variety of services including finding jobs and securing safe and stable housing.

The LIFT Boston Bike Project was created in response to the lack of social services for transportation in the Boston area. Over the years, volunteers noticed that many LIFT clients have been unable to access existing social services because they can not afford to take the T.  In 2008, Liz Powers, a LIFT-Cambridge volunteer, read about an impressive program in Chicago that helped provide free, sustainable transportation to community members: The Recyclery (www.therecyclery.org). This nonprofit gives about 80 bikes, helmets, and locks each year to homeless individuals, refugees, and other individuals in need. Liz was inspired and decided to replicate this program!

Th LIFT Boston Bike Project launched in the fall of 2009, when 5 LIFT clients each received a helmet, lock, and bicycle. In the spring of 2010, 10 more LIFT clients received helmets, locks, and bicycles. Clients have reported that receiving a bike has helped them get back on their feet, commute to new jobs, and exercise more often. We are continuing to grow, and more clients will receive helmets, locks, and bicycles in spring of 2011.

Clients earn their bike by volunteering in the community for at least 10 hours and attending required bike safety education and basic bike maintenance training.

If you would like to get involved you can:

1. Help refurbish bikes: Come to Quad Bikes on Mondays from 7-9 P.M. to help refurbish bikes. Even if you are not a bike mechanic, you can certainly help us clean up and you can learn how to fix bikes!
  • Quad Bikes is located just outside of Harvard Square at 51 Shepard St. (at the corner of Shepard and Walker Streets)
  • www.quadbikes.org
  • Quad Bikes Phone Number: 617-496-5955
2. Donate your gently used bike! Drop off your bike Quad Bikes Tu-Sat 1-6:30 P.M. We will provide receipts for your tax-deductible donation!

3. Provide monetary donations. Please email us if you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation! Your donation will help us purchase bike parts, helmets, and locks.

If you would like to get involved and/or have any questions, please contact us at LIFTBostonBikeProject@gmail.com. 

If you would like to learn more about LIFT, please visit our website: www.liftcommunities.org.

Liz Powers
LIFT Boston Bike Project Founder and Director