On Saturday, Trips For Kids of Santa Cruz hosted their first annual open house at their brand new location on Harvest Drive in Watsonville.
"It was awesome, we had 15 kids and about 15 adults, and went 6 miles to the slough," said Roxanne Harrison, Vice President of Trips for Kids. "Then we fed 'em all and they were out of here."
"The Launch Pad," as the organizers like to call their new multi-room space, was donated to Trips for Kids by Martinelli's & Company back in February. A storage room for bikes, an office, and large meeting area make it a huge improvement from their last location. Until February, Trips for Kids was wedged into a closet-sized space in the Bike Shack in downtown Watsonville, which is run by the Brown Berets.
"They [the Bike Shack] have kids who come in and work on bikes and then if they fix it up they give them that bike," said Facilities Director John Fuchs. "It's really a great thing they're doing."
Trips for Kids offers a similar prospect for kids who don't have their own bikes: a chance to mountain bike through local trails on the first Saturday of every month. There is always a ride leader and about one adult for every four kids, ages 12 to 18.
"We try to focus on at-risk kids," said Harrison.
Many of the kids who showed up to the open house were from transitional housing, and some of them had just gotten out of Juvenile Hall.
"That's really why we are doing this is so that they can meet in a happy, friendly place and get to know each other while doing something healthy," added Allison Cruz, President of Trips for Kids.
Trips for Kids started in Marin back in 1988 and chapters quickly bloomed across the United States. Each chapter gets started off with 10 bikes and five helmets, and the rest of the equipment, from bikes, to water bottles to gloves and helmets, come from community donations.
Martinelli's donated juice and Driscoll's donated berries to Saturday's open house.
Trips for Kids Santa Cruz is located at 345 Harvest Dr. in Watsonville. Check out their Facebook Page