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Shifting Gears Stories & Photos

Shifting Gears Photos

Photos and stories of some of the recipients of Shifting Gears bikes

Pace Community Action Agency Inc.

Pace Community Action Agency Inc. of Vincennes, Indiana held their first community services fair, The Local Link Up, on October 5th. The services fair connected individuals with low to no-cost services and assistance available in the community. 25 bicycles from Shifting Gears were awarded at the event to individuals in need of transportation options to get to school and work. The recipients were overwhelmed with gratitude as they were given the bikes and expressed what a large impact they would make in their day to day lives.

Holy Cross St. Vincent de Paul Conference

"I just wanted to thank you and everyone involved in this wonderful program that helps restore peoples lives.  The bikes were more than excellent and our clients were thrilled knowing they could take better control of their lives to get to jobs, medical appointments and to family members to often mend broken relationships..   I wish I could send you all the hugs I receive and good news of jobs obtained and new homes.   God bless you for your good work and that of those who repaired the bikes......many go to men & women who have recently been released from prison....your hard work makes a difference."
 - Maureen McLean, Holy Cross St. Vincent de Paul Conference

Ivy Tech Community College Center for Working Families

Shifting Gears Program “Making a Difference at Ivy Tech Community College”

Ivy Tech Community College, Center for Working Families is committed to assisting many low income students and their families by providing counseling, financial coaching, employment coaching, income support and referrals to various community resources. We strongly believe that the success of a student is measured by their ability to achieve financial and emotional stability.

In 2014 The Center for Working Families established a partnership with Shifting Gears which has proven to be a valuable resource for our students who have transportation barriers.

Our first student, Sean received a bicycle donated by Shifting Gears at a time when he had no transportation to school or work. He literally traveled from the Fountain Square area to the Ivy Tech North Meridian Campus (5 miles one way) in the snow. He once stated “I have used that bike so much that it is now falling apart”

We also are proud to report that in July we are able to support another student with a bicycle donated by Shifting Gears. This student needed a way to get to her neighborhood store for groceries. Here is her story:

My name is Violet and I am a student majoring in the Paralegal program here at Ivy Tech. Since I have begun my academic career here at Ivy Tech I have been met with some financial, transportation, and employment challenges.

With each challenge I have faced I have been able to reach out to the Center For Working Families… I have been able to polish up my interviewing skills as well as gain some much needed confidence, support, updates on resources in my community as well as a bicycle for transportation for which I am very grateful! … Because of the help I have been given I am able to continue my academic career here at Ivy Tech. Thank you very much for all the time effort support and resources that have been given to me.”

While owning a bicycle may be taken for granted, it can be a very appreciated and valuable gift to someone in need. Like Violet and Sean, many of our students are affected by the barriers of transportation which limits their access to work and school.  Shifting Gears has proven to be very instrumental in providing an alternative to these barriers through the donation of bicycles.

Thank you so much Shifting Gears for your support in giving so many individuals in need something very special.

Aleta Reeder, Ivy Tech Community College, Early Resource Connections Center

Marion County Superior Court - Community Court

"This is a great program that benefits our defendants more that anyone can imagine. Giving them a bike is a great incentive for them to not only show up for their court obligations, but to better themselves in many aspects of their lives"
 - Jason Cochran, Marion County Superior Court

Jameson Camp

The campers are enjoying the donated bikes!  A lot of the kids are not very good bike riders and this gives them an opportunity to learn how in a safe environment.  Thank you so much for the donation!  We couldn’t have this as part of our summer camp program without the donations!
Thank you,
Brent Cummins, Outdoor Education Director
Jameson Camp

HealthNet Homeless Initiative Program

“John” worked for 6 months searching for warehouse work utilizing a forklift certification that he attained in late 2015.  He found work at a warehouse in Plainfield IN that paid well and was a good working environment.  He needed to connect to work via Indy Go but then also the Plainfield Connector and it was a tight timeline.  Depending on how his shifts were flexed, he would miss the Plainfield Connector back to the Indy Go pickup spot.  With his bicycle from the Shifting Gears program, he has an alternative way to reach his destination to connect back to the Indy Go bus after work.  This will make a huge impact on “John” as he gets more comfortable with his route to work and sustaining full time employment.
“Peter” has had successes and setbacks in his employment search and currently is working to find housing and a full time job.  Transportation is a large barrier for him as he traverses the city to get to his medical appointments, employment opportunities and HIP appointments.  The bicycle will be a lifeline for “Peter” as he keeps his commitments and looks for housing that gives him the option to use the Indy Go system but also his bike as his primary source of transportation.  For “Peter” the bicycle represents the opening of closed doors and new opportunities that present themselves each day due to the added flexibility as he gets around the city.
“Jim” has been living on the street for many years and engaged with several homeless service providers along with the Indianapolis Professional Blended Outreach Team.  He recently was housed through a local service provider after 10 plus years living on the street.  In his excitement about moving into his own apartment, he learned that he also was receiving a bicycle through the Shifting Gears program and was overcome with emotion and thanks for every person, agency and program that helped him eliminate the barriers that he was working through.  The bicycle represents more than just two wheels, it represents a newfound sense of freedom and mobility that will help him get around Indianapolis, to his appointments and provide a welcome sense of ownership, freedom as well as providing a great way for him to enjoy the fall weather to come. 

St. Lukes UMC Refugee Assistance Ministry

"I hope you can pass along our sincere appreciation for the 25 bikes from the DOC/BGI program.
We distributed the bikes on Saturday August 28, 2012 and held a training course.  Despite the very nasty weather, all showed and all stayed for the training.  The recipients were chosen by the local Burmese community center which knows the vast majority of the Burmese refugees who have moved to the Nora area.  The looks on the recipients' faces told it all - excitement, pride, and freedom.  Most of the recipients were adults in need of transportation.  About 5 were teenagers.  I am attaching 3 pictures so you can know the joy that you brought these recipients.Thank you very much."  
 - Cathy Kennedy St. Lukes UMC Refugee Assistance Ministry

Villages of Indiana

"Please share the fact that The Villages’ children in care have received more than 60 bikes from the Shifting Gears program. These bikes have been delivered to children ages 2 through 21 – many have never had a bike before!! These bikes have provided transportation for our older youth to and from vocational training classes, GED classes and to and from their jobs! These bikes have saved these youth hundreds of dollars in public transportation costs and provided health benefits from daily exercise.

Bikes for our younger children have given them hours of outdoor fun and exercise, a functional gift that is truly their own and a bike also provides greater self-esteem because these abused and neglected children have mastered how to ride a 2-wheeler!

Our foster parents are most grateful – their foster children have been given fabulous bikes, in perfect condition, safe to ride and they were free!! We send our deepest thanks to the Department of Corrections (and especially to Mike Vaughn) for this generous partnership with The Villages in refurbishing and delivering these great bikes so that our foster children can enjoy some wonderful summertime fun!!"

Linda Adams, Director of Development
Villages of Indiana

Cloverdale FFA/Cloverdale Cops Toy Drive

Shifting Gears bikes donated to Cloverdale FFA/Clover Cops Christmas toy drive (pictured are FFA volunteers who helped transfer the bikes before they were given to the kids). The bikes were used in the distribution of toys to Putnam County community families in need of financial assistance to supply Christmas gifts for their children. Thanks to everyone who has donated bikes to Shifting Gears - it truly makes a difference.

Cathedral Kitchen and Food Pantry

" the response from the clients to the bike program is wonderful. I’ve witnessed some clients letting someone in greater need get a bike ahead of them knowing they have to wait until more bikes are available. I hope the partnership can continue. The program has been helpful to our poor, needy and marginalized people."
Dr. Maggie Price, Director
Cathedral Kitchen and Food Pantry

Comments from Cathedral Kitchen and Food Pantry clients:

"I was shot in the leg last November. The bike helps me get to the hospital to keep my appointments. The most important is getting to PT. I have found that the bike is like therapy for my leg as well. I don’t think I would be doing this well without the bike. I am grateful." Danny

"It really helps to get from one place to another faster, especially work. I am able to get to jobs on time." Floyd

"As you can tell, I am not in good health and have to go to renal dialysis three times a week. I was exhausted trying to just do everyday things. The bike allows me to feel better." Roy

"I can get to work. It’s a great program." Sam

Putnam County Sheriff's Youth Program

Putnam County Sheriff's Dept. Child Safety & Drug Education Program

Putnamville Correctional Facility is ecstatic to be part of the Child Safety and Drug Education Program that is coordinated annually through the Putnam County Sheriff's Department. The program assists in keeping local children safe and drug free. The program also assists educating children and adults who may be in need of intervention.

The 25 bikes donated will promote outside exercise habits, biking and walking programs to help prevent juvenile obesity. The children's families with limited funds have no way of affording bikes. This is another aspect of what we are doing for our community outreach.