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At Emprise Bank, we make an effort to give back to the communities we serve and be generous with our time in order to make an impact in our communities and in people's lives.
We recently asked our employees to share a time when they felt empowered to give back, to do the right thing, or to make a difference somehow in the lives of those around them.
"As a certified street-cycling instructor with Bike Walk Wichita, my main area of teaching is at an in-patient treatment center for women who are overcoming alcohol and substance abuse. When the women graduate from the 12-week treatment program, many don’t have vehicles due to loss of license or lack of money. I created a collaboration between Bike Walk Wichita and this particular treatment center that allows the women to earn a bike.
In order to earn their bike, they must graduate from the treatment program successfully AND attend one of my monthly classes that are offered at their location. My monthly classes discuss city bike ordinances, staying safe on the road, using bike lanes and bike paths, basic bike maintenance, and much more. Once the women have taken my class and graduated the program, they can go to Bike Walk Wichita, pick out a bike which comes complete with a helmet, lock and lights.
Bike Walk Wichita is completely volunteer-based (no paid staff) so we have a large team of volunteers who refurbish the bikes before they’re handed back out to the community. The bikes are donated to Bike Walk Wichita by the community. The great thing that makes this collaboration so special is that the women can also volunteer their time back to Bike Walk Wichita helping refurbish bikes for others.
My class empowers women to be able to be more self-reliant, more active in the community and depend less on people who might not be supportive of helping them stay clean. Also, the women can bring their bikes to an “open shop” time at Bike Walk Wichita, where volunteers (including myself) will teach the women how to fix their own bikes; if they have a flat tire or need their brakes fixed, we’ll show them how to do it, not just fix it for them. This helps them feel empowered to ride more and ride further from home knowing they can fix most issues on their own.
Since this program started in September 2016, over 150 women have earned their bikes and now have reliable transportation to live much more positive lives outside the treatment center. From the feedback we have received from both the women in the program and the treatment center management, I truly believe that I am making a difference in these women’s lives and empowering them to be stronger and more self-sufficient."