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."
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Dear friends of LIFT and the LIFT-Boston Bike Project,
Cambridge, MA—LIFT-Boston will host the second annual Bike Project giveaway on Friday, April 27 at 1:00 pm outside of Cambridge City Hall. The LIFT Earn-A-Bike Program will hand out 15 free bicycles, helmets, and locks to low-income individuals who completed ten hours of community service.
The LIFT Bike Project is supported by many community organizations and city departments. The event will be incorporated into Green Streets Initiative’s Walk/Ride Day to encourage eco-friendly transportation methods. The Green Streets Initiative also helps the LIFT Bike Project network with the community, build its volunteer base, and increase its visibility. The Cambridge Department of Public Works donated 100 bikes to the LIFT Bike Project this year. Bikes Not Bombs, a non-profit bike shop, will provide mandatory safety training to bicycle recipients. The Men’s Health League, an initiative of the Cambridge Health Alliance, works to better the public health of low-income men of color and supports the event planning and outreach of the Bike Project. Volunteers from Quad Bikes, a non-profit bike shop at Harvard University, refurbished bicycles for the Bike Project. Funding for the Bike Project was made possible by New England Grass Roots Environment fund. The event will also include a celebration featuring brief speeches from LIFT staff and volunteers followed by light refreshments.
The LIFT Bike Project was created in response to the lack of social services for transportation in the Boston area. Volunteer advocates noticed a lack of accessibility for vital transportation services due to financial barriers. Homeless and low-income individuals earn refurbished bicycles by completing the ten hours of community service requirement and attending mandatory bike safety and bike maintenance training.
LIFT is a community-based nonprofit organization that operates three resource centers in the Greater Boston area to help low-income individuals and families obtain the necessary resources and services needed to become self-sufficient. LIFT is situated in Cambridge at the Cambridge Multi-Service Center for the Homeless; in Somerville at The Family Center; in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston co-located at the Vine Street Community Center, and all co-locators serve as hubs of community support for their respective neighborhoods. Since 2001, nearly 200 LIFT Harvard student volunteers have served over 3000 of the neediest residents in Cambridge.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
To the Refurb Night Krewe,
Happy Mardi Gras!
Tomorrow's Ash Wednesday, but we'll be trading ash on our foreheads for a little grease and maybe even some beads :). Last Refurb night was beaucoup (look it up) fun! There were some new faces as well as some old. To all: Welcome! As always, pictures of the madness can be seen on our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/
Last week we also got a big shipment of bikes from our new best friends over at Cambridge DPW and we still need a lot of help to get them in riding shape so join me tomorrow night at Quad Bikes from 7-9, no previous experience necessary.
Friday, February 17, 2012
The Cambridge DPW dropped of ten bikes to our location at Quad Bikes this past Wednesday. We're geared up to get them in riding shape! Check them out on our Facebook album from the last refurb night: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.350563521644571.92379.328683173832606&type=1
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
It's that time of year, the time you've all been waiting for, the return of REFURB NIGHTS for the LIFT Bike Project! Refurb Nights will be Wednesdays from 7-9pm starting February 1st at Quad Bikes. I look forward to meeting all of the veterans of refurb nights, as well as some fresh faces (including my own). We have the goal of giving away 100 bikes this year, so there is a lot of work to be done. Thank you so much for your commitment to the Bike Project and to the communities of the Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston.
No previous bicycle mechanic experience required, just a desire to learn and have fun! Also, don't forget to like our brand new facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
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.