Giving Back to the Giving

As most of you know, I put on a fundraiser for Trips for Kids of WNC this past weekend. It started as a small party for a few of my cyclocross buddies, and quickly grew into something bigger than myself. I had a chance to give back to the giving. We were able to raise $1000 in 3 hours of selling raffle tickets. So, where is this money going and why? I’m glad you asked.

Located in Asheville, NC, Trips For Kids WNC was founded on November 18, 2010.  The goal of Trips For Kids WNC is to provide mountain bike outings and environmental education for kids who would not otherwise be exposed to such activities.

After spending several years in the child mental health field, and finding a lack of options for local youth to participate in cycling,  Stephen Janes decided it was time to jump in and do something about it.  After meeting with various local youth and cycling advocates, the plans developed with seeming ease.  The chapter was approved and the program was rolled out to the public.

Since it’s conception in 2010, Trips for Kids WNC has provided opportunities for over 2,000 kids.


It takes a lot of time and money to run a program like TFK.  Janes background and life experience built a solid foundation which enabled him to hit the ground running with the program, but the journey was paved with many obstacles.

When he was 13,  he made money by washing windows, cutting grass and selling fresh ground coconut.  In high school, he worked at a curtain supply warehouse and in food service at an amusement park restaurant, selling corndogs and french fries.

While attending college, Janes made money by working a slue of part-time jobs.  He did everything from working at a carwash, to serving ice cream at Dairy Queen. He also spent time with the local YMCA after school program, and helped build the outdoor program at his college.  As if his plate wasn’t full enough, he found the energy to volunteer for a program similar to Big Brother.

His post-college resume was filled with a number of notable positions.  He was the ‘assistant parent’ at a group home in Chattanooga, a facility that served as a ‘last chance’ for offenders before being sentenced to juvenile jail.  Janes also volunteered at Youth Assistance Program of Cleveland county, where funds were raised through the Ride Across America.  He taught parenting classes when time allowed.
In 2001 he moved to Asheville, North Carolina with no job. He landed a job in the youth mental health field, while working part-time at Starbucks. Janes was forced to work various odd jobs when he could, because he had a wife and newborn at home. Family income was solely up to him.

In 2010 Janes lost his job.  He was at a crossroads, and wasn’t sure what to do. He had considered Trips For Kids off and on for a while, so he contacted the main chapter and decided to go for it.

And here we are.

Stephen spends countless hours planning and implementing youth programs throughout Western North Carolina, while running The Bicycle Thrift Shop. He doesn’t make a lot of money. He doesn’t have any employees. He raises most of the program’s money on his own. He pours his heart and soul into giving kids a chance to ride bikes. He does this while raising a son with his Wife, Rhonda, a nurse at a nearby hospital.

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering how you can give back to the community, I urge you to consider Trips for Kids WNC.

If you’d like to learn more about Trips for Kids WNC, please visit:

**Operating in the United States, Canada, Israel and Sierra Leone, Trips For Kids® (TFK®) has opened the world of cycling to over 140,500 at-risk youth since 1988 through mountain bike rides and Earn-A-Bike programs. The over 85 Trips For Kids chapters we support combine lessons in confidence building, achievement and environmental awareness through the development of practical skills, and the simple act of having fun.

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