The great thing about obstacles and barriers (if you don't give up) are that they force you to either dig deep and push harder, or they disrupt your laser-focused mindset enough to get you thinking outside the box. Both methods can work, but while digging deep is a dragon slaying process you can be proud of, the disruptive and creative process might be the dragon taming process that transforms everything.
BBP ran into that dragon last October when we were running out of space, failing to process incoming kid bikes fast enough to keep up with demand, and struggling with a broken inmate bicycle program. We could have kept fighting the dragon and possibly made some progress, but instead, we shifted gears. We reached out to the community and asked for help to create something new and something better. And then you responded....
And then everything transformed. And you've probably heard this "Shifting Gears" story already (If you haven't, here's the radio version and a print version, or the video version below), but in short, by asking for help and engaging the community we were able to tame the dragon through collective impact.
What you may not know is the greater effect it had on BBP and specifically our expansion plans. We had been looking all over the Valley for an additional space or a larger space that would replace our current home on Lusk St, but were struggling to find the ideal situation. What the disruptive process of Shifting Gears created, was a new mindset that discovered BBP's impact cannot and should not be contained within four walls anywhere. We suddenly realized that while some additional space was certainly needed, we weren't experiencing a storage problem, a space shortage issue, or a program deficiency. No, our issue was processing and containment. The lack of storage could be fixed by processing bikes faster. The lack of space could be fixed by letting our impact overflow into the community and incorporating more mobile/offsite opportunities. Our program deficiency could be fixed by combining our services with those of other like-minded organizations.
The new plan is of course our Riding to Raise the Roof Campaign. $100,000 from the community and $100,000 from local foundations to construct a 2000sqft addition and transform BBP's home into an outpost for impact! The goal is maximize our current resources and start going mobile. We've got $47,000 left to raise on the community side and about $50,000 left from the foundation side... and 30 more days to do it.
That brings us back to today. Our first graduate from Shifting Gears just picked up her own bicycle, one she earned by fixing over 15 BBP bicycles for kids while incarcerated, and is now headed back to Twin Falls with a "new" bicycle to connect her to her new start. She's given back to the community while serving time, and now we hope the community will give her a second chance.
And if that wasn't wonderful enough, when Officer Carlson stopped by to assist with our first graduate, she unveiled a new Idaho Department of Corrections fundraiser created by the female inmates. I'm not exactly sure how it works, but I know it involves the gals (300 of them) being able to earn a Chinese food dinner on June 25th with $5 per meal dedicated to the Riding to Raise the roof campaign. I'm going to do my darnedest to find an individual or local business to match their donation and officially establish the IDOC Women's Facility as a "Grand #RtRtR Investor!"
Shifting Gears taught us that the "Obstacle is the Way" ( also a great book by Ryan Holiday) and it's far better to tame the dragon than to slay it.
-Jimmy Hallyburton, Executive Director of BBP.
If you're interested in matching the IDOC gal's investment email Jimmy@boisebicycleproject.org, or make an investment of impact today.