Archive for July, 2011

“Travels with Bogart”

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

7-31-11Since trading the comforts of home for the comforts of traveling the United States in an 84 sq ft bus with Bogart, my Boston terrier, copious amounts of people have asked me if I have ever read “Travels With Charley” by John Steinbeck. I can finally say to those people, I am finally on top of it, literally. Seriously, with a reminder like the one in today’s photo, something is telling me to read this classic sooner than later.
With weather not fit for man nor beast, I ventured out in the 100 degree heat in downtown Kansas City, Missouri for a mid-day bicycle ride. I headed straight for the Power & Light district in the center of downtown and to “scope out” the most beneficial place to park for the next couple of days. Most people weren’t thinking like me. The streets in Kansas City were mostly empty, as the air conditioning and comforts of home proved too appealing to most.

More Corn

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

7-30-11It is amazing to me that we are beginning our 12th week of The Kindness Bicycle Tour. Time has flown by so quickly and we are about to enter the State of Kansas for the next month. I was just told a humorous story, recently, about a couple of kids who used to drive their parents crazy as the drove through Kansas during their summer vacation. The kids would say repeatedly, “more corn, more corn, more corn, more corn, more corn…..”. Very funny stuff! I’m sure, that after a month of riding past hundreds of miles of corn, I’ll be saying “more corn” to myself hundreds of times. Thank you for that great story tkd.
I meet many people along my travels, one person I met a month or so ago, in Athens, Ohio was Dr. Stephen Patton, Professor of Chemistry at Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Missouri. I paid the good Doctor a visit to talk with him again, about some of his, and other’s research on aggression in laboratory animals. It is fascinating work and shows how aggression can be more prevalent in laboratory animals when an over abundance or a shortage of chemicals are lacking in their brain. The same applies to humans.
The bicycle mileage is at a triple-digit deficit due to the 100 degree days for the past couple of weeks, I can make it up in less than a week when the cooler weather comes.

True North and Rainbow House, Columbia, Mo.

Friday, July 29th, 2011

7-29-11 AI have been meeting so many talented, caring individuals, whose passion for helping those in need, is 7-29-11 Btheir primary goal, Barbara Hodges, Executive Director of True North is one  of those individuals. Barbara met with me and shared the many successes of her organization in protecting victims of Domestic Violence. Her passion is contagious, as her staff share the same excitement for their work as well. Two staff member I met; Jimmie and Margaret are Outreach Education Specialists and raise awareness on campuses and throughout their community. They loved the guerrilla marketing approach I use to get my point across. Brenda another member of the staff was equally interested and thanked me profusely for the “difference I am making.”
There weren’t enough hours in the day and Rainbow House, a Child Advocacy Center I would have liked to stop and pay a visit, didn’t happen. I did the next best thing and talked with Brenda Jackman, Marketing Director at Rainbow House. It was almost as if I was there as she told me of the main 4 services they provide; Children’s emergency shelter, Clinical programs, Child advocacy center and a transitional living program for older teens. This organization is filling the void for so many in Boone county and its 9 surrounding counties.

The LEAD Institute, Columbia, MO

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

7-28-11 ADr. Stephanie Logan, Executive Director of The LEAD Institute met with me at her administration building to7-28-11 B tell me of the many services her organization provides for people throughout Missouri, primarily the deaf and hard of hearing. The  Leadership through Education & Advocacy for the Deaf as it is known, offers Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Programs, Drug and Alcohol Programs, HIV/Aids Awareness Programs, Training and Education for all of these programs and a 24 hour Crisis Line, all under one roof. Dr. Logan still works at the same desk she personally assembled 17 years ago and uses nearly every dollar she receives for programs and helping those in need, directly. This organization, under the leadership of Dr. Logan, is accomplishing great things for those who are deaf and affected by domestic violence. She herself became deaf as an adult and knows first hand what some of those in her charge live with each and every day.

A very big thanks to Ona from RAVEN for her generosity and kind words. It is a big boost for me to hear how much you care about my mission. Thank you Ona.
Today the temperature was 101 in Columbia. I bagged the ride for the day due to safety concerns. I will make up any deficit in the cooler temperatures this autumn. Boy does that sound good.

Honorable Michael D. Burton and RAVEN Men’s Group

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

7-27-11Taking time out from a very busy work load, Judge Burton met with me and RAVEN Executive Director, Janeen McGee to discuss how better to raise awareness about Domestic Violence. Judge Burton created the St. Louis Domestic Violence Court to increase safety for victims and their children and increase accountability for offenders. The judges in this court have an interest in and understanding of domestic violence issues. Judge Burton has been helping children in and around St. Louis and has started programs in this area for their goodwill. He is a hero in the Domestic Violence field for protecting children and has even served as an adjunct instructor of judges for the National Institute on Domestic Violence. Judge Burton has earned the respect of the community and of his peers for all the important work he has done, he is the “gold standard.”
This evening I was invited by Executive Director, Janeen McGee to help with the RAVEN men’s group. The group attends class to learn alternatives to violence.  I was asked to be an instructor of kindness, helping to show how, always leading with a kind heart can defuse a potential conflict long before it starts.  The men seemed to appreciate having a guest show another alternative to violence; an individual lifetime goal of kindness. Janeen printed Kindness Certificates and Parent Vows for the men to take home to their loved ones. Thank you very much Janeen.   Today’s photo is of a drawing which is hung in the waiting area, just outside of Judge Burton’s chambers. The drawing says it all.

RAVEN and Pastor Bob

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

7-26-11Janeen McGee, Executive Director of RAVEN took the time out of her very busy schedule to meet with me today. Founded 33 years ago by a group of men, RAVEN, the 3rd oldest batterer  intervention program in the United States, is an alternative to violence education program, which teaches men how to better react to everyday situations which normally would make them lash out at others.  “We get good at whatever we practice,” is what Janeen stated during our conversation; to me, this holds true in every situation, both good and bad. Janeen is a “roll up the sleeves” type of individual who helps out wherever the need may be. Her staff, mostly volunteers, help to achieve the highest level of success.
Yesterday, I received an email about a local man named Pastor Rob who has taken it upon himself to serve the homeless in St. Louis. I was told he has done at least one million acts of kindness in his life, of course I had to meet him. Pastor Rob is an amazing man doing amazing work with his own resources and has been doing it for years. Many of the homeless are in a much better place because of him. I’m thinking he must be very near that million mark.
By the time I picked up The Kindness Bicycle from the National Park Service today, the sun was too high in the sky to get all of my miles ridden, however I had dozens of interactions with interested individuals. This is one friendly town.

And I Thought I was in Shape

Monday, July 25th, 2011

7-25-11I made an unscheduled visit to the Metro Unit of the St. Louis Police Department. I went to make a police report about The Kindness Bicycle being missing from where I had left it locked.  These guys are the Downtown Bike Unit of the Police Department. They patrol the entire downtown area of St. Louis, keeping peace, and keeping in shape, while carefully negotiating traffic and pedestrians. Police Officer Chris Seger took all of my pertinent information and said they would make every attempt to keep an eye out for The Kindness Bicycle as they are out patrolling.  I received a late night phone call from Officer Seger to say that he had called the National Park Service to see if they had any surveillance cameras in the area where the bike was left. They told him they had better news, they had The Kindness Bike in their possession. Thank you Officer Seger for your diligent work in finding this very necessary part of The Kindness Bicycle Tour.
Today’s short ride concentrated on the area around Busch Stadium, talking with fans of the Card’s, as they are in town for the remainder of my stay. Many people come to this great town to visit the many sites and the friendly people downtown are an added bonus. There are a couple of important stops I want to make while in St. Louis, one of them is RAVEN, where men are taught alternatives to violence.