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Meeting Minutes 7/7/2009

August 4, 2009
Minutes from the Second Meeting of the NBW-Norristown Project
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Discussion convened at 7:45pm
 
Attendees: Rhonda Bailey, Elaine Feldman, Lisa Graves (Moderator), DeeAnne Kotzur, Norman Lazarus, Laura Mack, Linda McGrane (Recorder), George Miller, and Barbara Rosenberg (Host).
 
MISSION: To increase opportunities for urban youth via bicycling.
 
Focal points for this evening’s meeting:
1) Location
2) Fundraising
3) Action Plan
                                                   LOCATION
 
George Miller met with Bill Plichta (Norristown Borough Parks & Rec), re. two possible sites for the NBW facility.  Both are located in the Elmwood Park neighborhood, center of the borough and “neutral turf”.
     1) Garage with three service bays (used by utility trucks).  Unsure about heating & air cond.  It is lockable, and has space for work benches.
     2) Large room in bandshell
 
Both of the above facilities are located in a central locus of activity (~3 miles by 3 miles) — Police Athletic League (PAL) is nearby.  Facilities are accessible from the SRT, although there is a hill coming up from the trail.
 
Site inspections are scheduled for Thursday, 7/9.  Cost of renting should be minimal.
 
If the above proposed sites do not pan out, John Moser has information, re. another possible venue if needed.  Also, Norman mentioned the possible use of space at a “storefront” church immediately adjacent to the old (now deserted) Breakaway Cafe.
 
Leland stated that if funding is secured and Andy can recruit staff, 1 & 1/2 months would be a feasible time frame to launch.
 
Chosen venue will require prep time to install work benches, lock boxes, etc.
 
                                                     FUNDRAISING
 
There is a link to NBW website for grant-writing.  We will need long-term, sustained fund-raising.
 
Possible ways to raise money: discussed selling extra tail lights and/or cue sheet holders (BCP left-over Banquet favors).
 
Per Tom Madle, COS has strict rules against fundraising & sales on church property.
 
Leland mentioned “Just Give” and “Network for Good“, Paypal-like on-line payment services for Non-Profits.
 
Group discussed possibility of charging supplemental fees on event admissions for rides such as Schuylkill Century and/or Bike Philly, e.g., adding an extra $1 – $5 (optional/vountary donation).
 
Another possibility: having display tables at rest stops and/or the Start/Finish, providing info on the project.
 
Bike shops may be able to donate either cash or bike parts and supplies.
 
We’ll need to produce: 
       1) a brochure to distribute to bike shops.
       2) a checklist of project needs/requirements
       3) a checklist of volunteer expectations & qualifications
       4) insurance & waiver forms
 
Fundraising outside of the cycling community, e.g., health care professionals, pharmaceuticals.  Pharma companies located near the trail.
 
Per LaSalle University’s Institute for Non-Profits, the most stable source of funding is to have a large mass of INDIVIDUALS (vs. corporations).
 
Use of bike club newsletters and list-serve to increase public interest, support, momentum.
 
Use of press releases to show ‘before” and ‘after”, progression from early stage to completion.  Show photo of new facility, & photo of instructors with kids, then release updated story every 6 weeks or so.  (People need to see something at least 7 times before message sinks in.)
 
Tom Madle is persuasive, influential event leader; if we draft material for Tom, Tom will issue it (to his “followers”).
 
Fundraising for Non-Profits: Guide Star and Charity Navigator.
 
Monday evening COS cyclist Michele Leonard works for GSK — GSK is close to the trail.
 
Appeal for extra bikes, parts, tools.  Need ~50-60 bikes.  NBW in Phila. receives some donated bikes from the Police — bikes which were  confiscated, and never ID’d or reclaimed.  (Univ. of Penn police typically donates ~100 bikes/year to the West Phila. NBW.)   NBW has a list of “desirable” bike traits, e.g., wheels 20″ or greater, metric tools, etc.  Most donated bikes are just dropped off at the NBW warehouse.
 
Possible sources of bike donations (or cash gifts):
     Trek, Bikes Belong, and Fuji.  (In past, Fuji has donated bikes at very, very low cost, e.g., 1 bike at wholesale + 1 bike free.)
 
Elaine offered to work Leland on the list of needs for the Norristown branch.
 
We will also need documentation from NBW’s insurance company, re. liability coverage — City of Norristown will require this.
 
Leland reported that NBW/West Phila. has offered in the past “Bike Safety Check” fairs, with basic repairs done on-site, in a “block party” format.  A tips jar for donations could be set-up.  Norristown Parks Dept could assist with scheduling this type of event.
 
Other possible sources for donations/fundraising:
     1) Literature/flyers at the Norristown Train/Transit Station and/or PAL
     2) Raffles — prize given for every ~100 donors.
 
Goal is to try to raise ~$1000 in a month.
 
                                                     ACTION PLAN
 
Entire team agreed that e-mail updates, encouraging donations and/or volunteerism, should be sent no more often than once a week, due to e-mail recipients eventually “tuning out”, if e-mails are so frequent that they become overwhelming.
 
Any literature or updates should be written at 5th grade level for wide-spread reader comprehension.
 
The NBW website has a check-box to identify donations specifically intended for Norristown.
 
Rhonda offered to draft a brochure document.  Team discussed possibility of  the flyer or brochure in PDF format, although PDF might not be accepted by certain clubs’ list-serves.
 
The members of the team, and other concerned cylists, represent and/or have access to all of the cycling clubs and groups in this region.  Each of these will need to be approached:
 
Sturdy Girls (Dee Anne)
West Cester Cycling (Lisa)
COS (Tom Madle)
BCP (Barbara R., Elaine, Steve Trobovic, Linda Mc, et al)
SCU (Rich Terry, Steve Sheetz, Tom Madle, Linda Mc)
West River Drive Time Trials (Dee Anne)
Delaware Valley Bike Club (LMc knows the President of DVBC)
Brandywine Bike Club (LMc knows a couple in the BBC)
 
That’s all she wrote — literally.                       La Fin
__________________________________________________________
 
 
 
 
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Meeting Minutes 6/23

June 30, 2009

Thank you very much to Linda McGrane for taking notes and typing them up!!!

 

Community Service Project – Bicycle Mentoring for Norristown Youth

Initial Brainstorming & Planning Meeting

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Location: chez Barbara Rosenberg

 

Attendees:

 

Rhonda Bailey, solo cyclist, SRT user

Kelly Cullen, SCU member, SRT user

Dee Anne, Sturdy Girls & SCU member, lives in Norristown

Elaine Feldman, BCP member, volunteers in community projects

Lisa Graves, Moderator, rides w/COS and West Chester Cycling Club (WCCC), former youth advocate

Norman Lazarus, bicycle commuter, SRT user

Laura Mack, SRT user, former teacher, works at U of P

Tom Madle, Chief of COS rides, award-winning ride leader in BCP & SCU

Leland Mayne, President of the Board, Neighborhood Bike Works (NBW)

Linda McGrane, President of BCP, ride/event leader, tonight’s scribe

George Miller, Norristown native

Barbara Rosenberg, BCP member, SRT user, hostess of this meeting  

Steve Trobovic, BCP member, candidate for LAB Certification as Effective Cycling Instructor

 

Brief History of Problem: Local cyclist Brenda Miller was attacked on Wednesday evening, 6/3/09, @7:30pm, on the Schuylkill River Trail in Norristown.  Brenda was heading inbound, towards Phila.  She was punched in the face by one male, who was with five or six others.  Brenda continued riding despite her bleeding, proceeded to the train station, then contacted 9-1-1.  Police and paramedics arrived; Brenda’s injuries were treated.  That incident of violence (not the first) has generated lengthy e-mail discussions & debates, re. plan of action and possible solutions.  A meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, 6/10, at the Norristown Municipal Bldg, between Norristown and Montgomery County officials and representatives of the cycling community.  At this meeting, Barbara Rosenberg had suggested that one potential strategy for improving relations between cyclists who use the SRT and the local residents would be to implement a community service project for the youth of Norristown.

 

Main Goals for this evening’s meeting:

1. Identify potential partners/collaborators in Norristown to facilitate this project, e.g.,

    Parks & Recreation Dept, Police Athletic league (PAL), local churches.

2. Develop a “work in progress”, recognizing that this project will evolve.

3. Envision and build something sustainable, for long-term future benefit.

 

Issues/Points discussed:

 

1)      Lisa reported that WCCC has sponsored a Bicycle program for children aged 5-12 yrs.  For the past three years 40+ bikes have been donated each year.   Program includes a rodea, safety training, and bike handling skills.

 

2)      Leland outlined the basic details of replicating NBW’s programming and funding:

  1. NBW began as a spin-off of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Phila., for two years.  It has been a separate entitiy for 10 years.  NBW is a 501-c-3 non-profit organization.  “Headquarters” is the parish hall of St. Mary’s Episcopal on U of P campus.
  • Start-up cost $4000-5000 for the first session, assuming that the location has been donated.
  • One course lasts 14 weeks, 1-2 hrs each session.
  • One course can accommodate about 10-16 students.
  • Need donated bikes, need to pay $$ for bike parts and tools, repair stands, helmets (available @ discount prices, $5).
  • Need to pay instructors for both prep time and class time.
  • After the initial session ($4-5K), subsequent sessions cost ~$1000.
  • Funding sources for NBW include private foundations and industry, companies like REI (contributed $7000 cash + in-kind), individuals, federal & local government programs, Delaware Valley Regional Planning commission (BEEP/Bicycle Education Enhancement Program).
  • Most youth who participate in NBW programs are aged 10-15 (middle school grades), most are male.
  • All-female classes can be offered, e.g., Women in the Outdoors is a nation-wide organization with local chapters.
  • NBW in Phila. has spawned its own spin-off program in Chester, located at the YMCA.
  • NBW also offers summer camps – four sessions during the summer, each two weeks long.  Cost is $250 for 2-wk session.  Hours are 8:00am to 4:00pm, including lunch.
  • Some of NBW’s paid instructors are LAB-certified, but not all.
  • NBW classes are required to “earn” a bike.  After completion of the program, participants have a “graduation ceremony”, to which parents are invited.
  • Group rides are scheduled for “graduates” of the program.  For the group rides, 1 adult for 5 youths is the usual ratio.  Adult may be NBW staff or volunteer.
  • Since NBW is located on the U of Penn campus, some of their volunteers are Penn students enrolled in work-study programs.  (Potential source of volunteers.)
  • NBW also offers Bike Repair Courses for adults — $60 for 4 sessions.
  • If NBW started a new program in Norristown, existing bikes would need to be transported from West. Phila. (Univ. City).
  • Time frame for proposal, begin to move forward: end of summer ’09.
  • Program similar to NBW in Boston, “Bikes not Bombs” (est. 1968) has formal training for volunteers in bike maintenance, lesson plans, how to teach kids, etc.

 

3)      Elaine related her experiences as a volunteer in an after-school hiking program.  Volunteers must undergo a rigorous protocol: first aid training, background check, rules & regulations, re. “transporting” children, ratio of kids to adults, etc.

 

4)      Devereaux Foundation in Devon/Berwyn – have a bike repair shop, may be able to donate bikes.

 

5)      Advocates/supporters/conduits for this proposal: Brett Wells, PAL in Elmwood Park, Bill Plichta, Parks and Recreation.

 

6)      Keep in mind the overall culture in Norristown – get the adults engaged in this, buy-in, parental involvement, community liaisons/church leaders. 

 

7)      St. Mary’s at U of Penn has a relationship with the Episcopal church in Norristown.

 

8)      Roles for volunteers – time commitment, types of training involved, job-mapping.  Website “Circle up” was suggested for job-mapping document.

 

9)      Potential financial sponsors: corporations located on or near SRT: GSK, Wyeth, SEI, companies with large cycling teams, e.g., Wyeth Wheelers, etc.

 

10)  Other possible ways to raise funds: PayPal on bike clubs’ websites.  (there is another service, similar to PayPal, used by non-profits.)

 

11)  Write and disseminate press releases to build public support and momentum.  Positive, “feel-good” story.

 

Plan of Action for tonight:

 

Leland will develop & distribute to the group a proposal, including details for fundraising, recruiting personnel, time frame & requirements to start the program.

 

Our three major requirements to be fulfilled are:

  • Partners/Collaborators
  • Locations/Facilities
  • Funding!!!!

 

LMc tried to think of a clever name for this project, san acronym easy to remember.  Only idea so far is:

 

Project BRILLIANT (Bicycling Responsibly Inspires Living for Youth in Norristown).