Oasis Bike Shop Featured in Commercial Appeal

July 28, 2014

2014 6 commercial appeal Setting the Path

by Robin Gallaher Branch … Commercial Appeal June 21, 2014

At Hope Presbyterian bicycle ministry, values for life are along for the ride.

Yes, Oasis Bike Shop gives away bikes – but rarely.

“No child is ever denied a bike,” said Bill Jurgens, who finds and repairs bikes for Oasis Bike Shop. “However, the most likely way a child – or an adult – gets a bike is by working for it.”

“Earning a bike provides value for it. It gives them a sense of ownership,” said Jurgens.

The program started with Jurgens volunteering in a reading program at Oasis of Hope, a ministry of Hope Presbyterian Church. “I was reading with children after school and became involved in the lives of a family of four and others. Another volunteer donated two bikes to some children, but the bikes were quickly stolen,” he said.

A short time later Jurgens picked up some bikes at a yard sale, fixed them, and gave them to children in the family he read with. “I’ve always been good with my hands,” he continued, “and I figured out how to repair them.”

However, right after those bikes were repaired around Christmas 2010, three of the four were broken. “I went home discouraged.”

Nowadays, bicycle recipients do 10 hours of volunteer, service-oriented labor. “For example, an adult can supervise children in a neighborhood trash pickup campaign,” Jurgens said.

The bike program, which started in 2011, operates out of Oasis Appliance on Thomas Street in North Memphis. Also a ministry of Hope Presbyterian Church, the store offers refurbished appliances at discount prices.

Jurgens feels he was led to do this ministry by the Lord, and points to the “coincidence” of reading and entry in The Upper Room, a daily devotional magazine. The entry said that children prayed and thanked God for lots of things and ended with God for bikes.

Shaking his head, he laughed at the memory. “It was as if God was telling me something. It really hit me.” From there on, he became intentional about a bike ministry.

The program developed one bike at a time until a warehouse was required. Now hundreds of bikes, in various states of need and repair, hang on hooks by their wheels in the storage area.

Other people heard about it and contributed. An anonymous donor from First Evangelical Church contributed $10,000 for a trailer. This has meant that up to 40 bikes can be transported, so children can enjoy bike outings to places like Shelby Farms Park.

With the process of matching a child or an adult with a bike come lessons in maintenance, bike repair and safety. Children age 16 and younger receive a helmet, because the law requires children to wear helmets. All recipients get a cable to lock up the bike.

It’s easy to describe a bike as an essential element of childhood. “Bikes help children live up to their potential,” Jurgens said. “Bikes give children mobility. Without a bike, they’re not keeping up with their friends.”

A bike can be an essential for an adult, too. Larry Watt earned a bike with 10 hours of volunteer service in the bike shop. He finds his bike helps keep him fit and mobile.

“It means good health,” said Watt. “It’s everything. It’s helped me lose weight. It keeps me young. It ought to be mandatory for everybody to have a bike.”

Around 400 bikes are in stock. International Paper recently gave 10 new Schwinn bikes valued at about $220 each. But most bikes are donated or are “finds” rescued before a trash pickup.

“It takes somebody who knows how to repair a bike 10-12 hours to make it safe and roadworthy,” Jurgens said. He credits the work of volunteers like Bobby Blackmon and Ted Partin for manning the shop. Oasis Bike Shop also provides part-time employment for two Manassas High School students. “They learn business skills,” Jurgens said.

A former Marine who works as an arborist, Jurgens often drops by the bike shop between appointments to look at trees around town. “Memphis is a tree city,” he adds.

He attends Hope Presbyterian Church, and has been influenced by Eli Morris’ urban ministry. Morris said he has watched the bike ministry grow and admires it for its stability.

“Bill combines Christian compassion and a business plan,” Morris said. “He intersects faith and business. That’s a valuable combination. Bill connects well with people living on the ragged edge of life.”

Jurgens shakes his head at the praise, saying, “I like doing things for people. I want my life to count.”

The ministry is in the process of rebuilding 29 bikes for Binghampton Christian Academy for the children who live in the school’s dormitories.

Jurgens and Syd Lerner, Executive Director of Greater Memphis Greenline, sometimes partner in their civic outreaches.

In this case, Oasis Bike Shop supplies the bikes and Greenline the helmets, Lerner said.

Lerner calls Jurgens “an interesting combination of a Christian spirit and a true business guy.” From their work together, Lerner notes Jurgens’ consistency of character: “The way Bill serves God is by serving others.”

For more information, see the website, http://www.oasis-of-hope.com/Oasis-bike-shop.htm.

Young riders learning about bicycle safety, maintenance

Syd Lerner, Executive Director of Greater Memphis Greenline, and Bill Jurgens, Director of Oasis Bike Shop, recently conducted an introductory bike safety and maintenance session for a bevy of 8- and 9-year-old boys, all dormitory residents at Binghampton Christian Academy.

During the lively session, Lerner drilled them in the ABCs of bike maintenance: “Check the air, brakes and chair before each ride,” he said with emphasis.

Singling out a child in an orange shirt, Lerner said, “Orange is a good color to wear when riding a bike. The people in cars aren’t thinking of you. So you have to think about them” by being as visible as possible.

The children brainstormed about why they have to wear a helmet. “It prevents brain damage,” one energetically said. “Right,” Lerner replied. “And it’s the law for children 16 and under.”

The children tried on helmets and learned how to adjust them. Jurgens and Lerner taught them to two-finger technique for wiggle room at the eyebrow and ear.

Displaying a bike from Oasis Bike Shop that needs repair, Jurgens patted the seat and said that a bike should be kept in a sheltered area like a shed.

A child raised his hand and asked, “What if pieces of your tire are coming off?” Jurgens smiled and answered, “That means your tire has dry rot and you need a new tire.” A bike with a bad tire is unsafe.

“When is it NOT your fault if you have a flat?” Jurgens asked the boys.

“When you run over some glass!” the children exclaimed!

“Right!” Jurgens replied. Then he told the children how necessary it is to check the air in the tires and displayed the “pinch test.” He squeezed the back tire in the display bike and found that his fingers met in the middle.

“Flat tire!” the children squealed.

He warned the boys that low air can lead to major repair and maybe injury.

Oasis Bike and Greenline are partnering in donating 29 bikes and helmets to the dormitory residents of Binghampton Academy. Additional sessions on bike safety and maintenance will follow this summer.

If you would like more information regarding this ministry, email Bill. Stay up-to-date by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and checking our website for pictures, videos and current information.

Think Tank Evolved from an Idea to a New Class at KIPP!

July 03, 2014

2014-think-tank-100x116Think Tank: Jr. Entrepreneurial Training Program
by Stella Payton, Volunteer Program Director

In Spring 2013, I went on the Urban Plunge at Hope Church and ended up volunteering with Oasis of Hope in the Warrior Princesses program, where Oasis Staffer, Terrice Thomas, challenged me to look at my own seminars and programs and see what might be a good fit for the students at Oasis of Hope. I agreed, and a few months later I was cleaning out old files from my computer when I came across Think Tank; an entrepreneurial training program for children. It had been a part of the old Learning Academy curriculum from years earlier.

I dusted it off and emailed Terrice. I honestly didn’t think anything would come of it. Imagine my surprise when a few days later I got a call from KIPP’s Assistant Principal Kendall Wilson-Flippin expressing interest in the program! I thought, “I am a corporate trainer not a middle school teacher,” but the opportunity excited me so we launched a pilot version last fall.

I have always believed that the seeds of all greatness can be traced back to experiences that ignite passion inside of us. That was my hope for Think Tank. I wanted the program to get children excited about money, investing, and learning how creativity and problem solving can be sources for wealth. It also taught financial independence by using the business processes inherent in our American free enterprise system. Think Tank educates children in the principles of business that relate to creating wealth and generating money. Lessons are taught by originating a product and taking that product to the marketplace to generate income.

But Think Tank was more than just business skills, kids also learned about values and the guiding principles that are the bedrock of achievement. They learned the 7 Universal Laws of Success. They learned the 4 Realms of Creation; that all things are created 4 times. They learned about visualization and the power of using your imagination. I mean, this was stuff I didn’t even learn in college, and it was great!

Over two semesters we had nearly 200 students. First the entire KIPP 6th grade in the fall and then the entire 7th grade this past spring. It was an awesome challenge that I welcomed. We wanted to expose the students to the enormous opportunities available to create money. One way we did that was by bringing in various speakers, as well as taking them to the Hope Market Square last fall. Students got to meet dozens of entrepreneurs face to face. Artists, writers, and craftsmen of every kind.

Then in February we learned about the Memphis Black Business Expo’s KidVention competition. We entered, and one of our students, Kameren Brown, won 2nd place! Kameren is just one example of what can happen when you put students in the right atmosphere. They explode with creative ideas.

What’s next? I’m not sure. But my hope is that we bring Think Tank back in the fall and get it ready for other schools. We also want to explore the next phase of the program, which involves actually taking one of the kid’s ideas, manufacturing it, and taking it to the market place.

But for now, I am just thankful that even though I had given up on something that mattered to me, God had not given up on my idea. I am so grateful that he used Oasis of Hope to breathe new life into an old idea, and I am doubly thankful for the support of Terry, Terrice, and Martell in helping me bring it to life!

If you would like more information regarding this ministry, email us. Stay up-to-date by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and checking our website for pictures, videos and current information.

Impact a Life; Volunteer with One of our Youth Programs

July 01, 2014

2014-read-to-succeed-100x11Probably the biggest need in our city is for your young people to have more positive role models in their lives. You can have a great impact by simply spending a few hours a month with one of our kids. We’ll make it easy; all you have to do is show up and befriend a child.

Children’s Opportunities

Opportunities at Caldwell-Guthrie Elementary (951 Chelsea Ave): In-School Tutoring – various times during the week

Opportunities at “The Cut” (932 N 6th St): Read-2-Succeed (one-on-one reading with elementary students) – Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays, 4:30-6 pm

Youth Opportunities

Life Builders High School & Pathfinders Middle School Mentoring Groups (Dramatically impact the lives of young people in the pivotal teenage stage of life by joining us and providing encouragement, support and spiritual guidance) – Monday & Thursday evenings

Warrior Princesses (9-12 yr old girls) – various Saturday mornings throughout the year

For more information contact Brenda (496-5516, Brenda@oasis-of-hope.com) or Martell (246-6010, Martell@oasis-of-hope.com). Stay up-to-date by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and checking our website for pictures, videos and current information.