The Harvest Foundation funds new STEP, Inc. transportation program

The Harvest Foundation funds new STEP, Inc. transportation program
STEP, Inc. received a $10,000 PUP! grant for its Bicycles to Work program. Pictured from left are DeWitt House, Melvin Johnson and Marc Crouse.

April 24, 2018

Solutions That Empower People (STEP), Inc. is knocking down barriers to transportation for its re-entry clients with a new initiative that provides bicycles to get to work.

The Harvest Foundation awarded STEP, Inc. a $10,000 Pick Up the Pace! grant for its Bicycles to Work program. The grant will provide funding for 32 bicycles, safety equipment, and funding for bicycle maintenance as needed.

“The Bicycles to Work program is a creative way to develop a solution to a problem that many of STEP’s re-entry clients have – finding reliable transportation to work,” said DeWitt House, senior program officer at The Harvest Foundation. “Many clients in the re-entry program have legal fees, restitution or other fines that need to be paid, and they need to get to work in order to get those taken care of. We hope Bicycles to Work will help alleviate some of that pressure until their licenses are reinstated and they secure reliable transportation.”

STEP, Inc. will partner with Chain of Fools Bicycle Repair shop and The Community Dream Center to keep the bicycles well-maintained and stored. The program’s participants also will support ongoing operations by investing in routine maintenance and paying a nominal fee to lease the bicycle.

“This grant will make such a difference in the lives of returning citizens,” said STEP Re-Entry Coordinator Melvin Johnson. “These bikes will be equipped with all needed safety protocols. We’ll have training sessions and bike maintenance contracts to ensure the bikers safe travel to and from work. By educating recipients about the program and the funding source, we will increase general awareness and appreciation for STEP and The Harvest Foundation, and the roles each organization plays in our communities.”

Working to successfully transition clients to productive members of the community, STEP’s recidivism rate was 16 percent in 2016 and now is less than 10 percent. Marc Crouse, executive director of STEP, Inc., said this program will greatly enhance its offerings to those transitioning individuals in Martinsville-Henry County.

“This is a great example of a program that is really working well,” Crouse said. “We have the right people and an aggressive strategy that is producing tangible results for our clients and our community.  With the addition of this new tool and the partnership of The Harvest Foundation, we will be more productive than ever.”

Re-entry services at STEP, Inc. assists individuals returning from incarceration to make a successful transition back into the community. Services provided include assistance with housing, clothing, food, referrals to community partners for counseling and support groups, personal finance education and support, and restoration of rights, among others.

STEP, Inc. is a community action agency that provides myriad services and programs designed to partner with individuals and families to help them overcome adversity and enhance their quality of life through community, economic, personal, and family development.

Headquartered in Rocky Mount, STEP, Inc. is the designated community action agency for Franklin and Patrick counties, while also providing services in Bedford, Pittsylvania and Henry counties, as well as the cities of Martinsville and Danville. To find out more, visit www.stepincva.com or call (540) 483-5142.

The Harvest Foundation’s Pick Up the Pace! grants program is a competitive, small grants program designed to engage people and organizations in sparking innovative ideas, collaborations and change in Martinsville and Henry County. These six-month grants for up to $10,000 are available for application year-round. To find out more, visit www.theharvestfoundation.org or call (276) 632-3329.




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