Triangle Spokes Group says bikes are a childhood rite of passage

On April 20, 1996 a group of children representing countries from around the world gathered to draft a “Children’s Bill of Rights“. This document summarized basic rights that all children the world over should be entitled to and expect. As we deal with issues of poverty and inequality in America we must acknowledge that there are some changes that we as individuals can make in a child’s life that do not require politicians, lawyers or multi-national corporations to enact.

Section 1, Item 12 of the Children’s Bill of Rights states; “12. Right to leisure and play: Children have the right to leisure, play, and participation in cultural and artistic activities. Children have the right to a enjoy at least a few hours every day when they are free from worries.” The right to play is essential to growing up to be a healthy adult. Thinking back on my own childhood, some of my best play memories involved a bicycle. The challenge of learning to ride a bike, the freedom that comes from having your own transportation and the camaraderie developed riding your bike to school made a bicycle essential to growing up.

Having a bike is not a given for many families in the Triangle. There is an organization in the Triangle of North Carolina that recognizes that need and are doing something about it. The Triangle Spokes Group is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the idea that every child has the right to own a bicycle. Their mission is to provide as many brand new bicycles and helmets as they can for children in the area. The bikes are donated at the holidays through the Salvation Army. The goal for the Triangle Spokes Group is 500 bikes and helmets, a 43% increase over the 2010 goal. Their fundraising varies from sponsoring a Bike Parade at New Belgium Brewery’s Tour de Fat to corporate appeals and generous personal donors.

To find out more about how you or your company can be involved, visit the Triangle Spokes Group website.

Avast ye! Drag Bingo goes Pirate!

Marie Antoinette - Drag Bingo Style!

The Alliance of AIDS Services Carolina is a remarkable agency doing remarkable work for those living with HIV/AIDS and their families through compassionate and non-judgmental care, prevention, education and advocacy. I love supporting this organization because they have great passion for their work and clients. The staff and volunteers also give with an uplifting message and spirit and a wonderful sense of humor.

Fundraising for the AIDS Alliance of the Carolinas is a year round effort but I will challenge you to find a more fun way to get involved and support a nonprofit organization. Here are a few events coming up in the fall of 2011.

Pirates of the Cari-Bingo

Pirates of the Cari-Bingo

Have you ever attended a Drag Bingo event? Get a gang together and go! Emceed by AAS-C Executive Director John Paul Womble and the fabulous Drag Queen Mary K Mart, you are in for a night of bingo fun. Entertainment is provided by the BVD’s – Bingo Verifying Divas between games. Tickets are $20 and include bingo cards and a chance to win fabulous prizes from local merchants. In addition the last game of the night is a 50/50 game with a prize of up to $500!

You can attend alone and have a wonderful time but Drag Bingo is best appreciated with a gang of your BFFs. Each event has a different theme. Past events celebrated Lady Gaga, TV Moms, Las Vegas, Country Music and more. Once you see the effort put into the costumes and choreography you’ll appreciate what a labor of love the program is for all the volunteers.

Works of HeART

Works of HeART was established in 1991 and has auctioned over 3,300 pieces of art raising over $1M for Alliance of AIDS Services Carolinas. This year’s event will be held Saturday, October 8th at Progress Energy Center. The public preview is open from 11:00am to 4:00pm. The Silent Auction takes place from 6:00 to 7:45pm followed by the Live Auction at 8:00pm. Tickets are just $20 for this Gala event.

Volunteer – It’s easier than you think

Activate Good

Volunteerism is alive & well and just around your corner.

The excuses for not volunteering are becoming fewer and fewer. "I only have a couple of hours", "I can’t volunteer on a regular basis" and "I don’t know who to contact" have all become invalid reasons for not giving a little of your time to aid a local nonprofit organization.

In the Triangle area there are a number of organizations that make volunteering not just easy but a social event that could make you new friends along with serving the greater good. There are different types of volunteer promotion organizations. Some will match your interests, skills or time available with a specific charity. Others organize and promote special events to work on a specific project for a charity at a specific day and time. Others organize theme parties where the admission and additional funds raised are all part of the party atmosphere.

Here is a look at one group focused on organizing volunteers for nonprofits in the Triangle, NC area.

Activate Good is a 501(3)(c) nonprofit whose mission is to "activate volunteers to help causes in our local community." They believe that volunteerism is integral to the health of a community and to those who do the service work by providing physical, mental and emotional benefits. Activate Good is a akin to a ‘volunteer center’ – they help recruit, connect, match, and measure the impact of volunteers with over 80 nonprofit partners in the area. Activate Good sometimes coordinates and hosts larger service projects, but they are also focused on addressing nonprofits’ bigger long-term volunteer needs or projects.

Activate Good just launched a social network platform as their new volunteer system, introduced at ideaSPARK. It’s called it the "Volunteer Community". In the Volunteer Community, Nonprofits set up volunteer opportunities, then Activate Good promotes the volunteer needs to individuals, companies, and groups who might be able to help. Participants can sign up to help through our volunteer community. Then, the system tracks hours, impacts, and more. Volunteers can also form groups in our volunteer community, finding each other by common interest, or perhaps company, faith group, or other affiliation.

The group also focuses on making sure volunteers are treated like the precious asset they are. They show appreciation for their efforts and occasionally coordinate social gathering after events to build camaraderie among the volunteers.

To active yourself for some good, check out their website and go make something happen! You’ll be glad you did.

Durham Tour De Fat – June 25th

New Belgium Brewery Tour de Fat

New Belgium Brewery Tour de Fat

This Saturday Bicycles will take over downtown Durham as the Tour de Fat rolls into town. Sponsored by New Belgium Brewery, the bicycle themed family event includes local bike related organizations as presenting charities. The Tour de Fat will be Saturday, June 25 from 10:00am – 4:00pm at the American Tobacco Campus in Downtown Durham. The event is a fun combination of bike parade, beer festival and carnival that is family appropriate. The Tour de Fat charities include The North Carolina Active Transportation Alliance, the Triangle Spokes Group, The Durham Bike Co-Op and The Durham Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Commission (BPAC).

Tour de Fat starts with a carnival inspired bike parade at 10:00am. Registration opens at 9:00am at Diamond View Park at The American Tobacco Campus. Cyclists are encouraged to wear costumes, decorate their bikes and get in a carnival spirit. The entry fee of $5.00 per bicycle will support the Triangle Spokes Group. The fun continues throughout the afternoon with music and theatrics by Squirm Burpee Circus, Dovekins, Daredevil Chickens and The Pimps of Joytime from 11am to 4pm. Not only is it a FREE event but one lucky person will win a sweet bicycle!

For more information, click here.

Laissez les bons temps rouler

Fat Tuesday Gala for Meals on Wheels

Fat Tuesday Gala for Meals on Wheels

Purple, Green and Gold – the official colors of Marti Gras will be in evidence Tuesday, March 8th at the Fat Tuesday Gala Celebration to benefit Meals on Wheels of Wake County. The Annual Gala event taking place at the North Ridge Country Club is celebrating their 10th anniversary with the Raleigh band, ZYDECOPIOUS, “A hot swingin’ Zydeco band guaranteed to make your feet happy!,”

Tickets are $125 per person, a table of ten is $1,250

To purchase tickets now, click here.

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