Enabling Flowering Branch’s youth to experience “moments of fun and joy,” Iron Order’s Children Shelter Ride returns June 1. The motorcycle benefit will start at Advocates for Children’s Flowering Branch with a complimentary breakfast from 9 to 10 a.m. and wrap up at Friendship Plaza in downtown Cartersville with a silent auction, raffles and lunch.
“Iron Order Cartersville Children Shelter Ride began 12 years ago,” said G-Rire, vice president of the Iron Order Motorcycle Club of Cartersville. “We wanted to be able to provide the children that reside at the shelter with the same opportunities as other kids. We want them to be able to participate in sports, band and other extra-curricular activities. One-hundred percent of the money goes towards sports equipment, band equipment, school supplies and other extra curricular activities. It also provides a trip for the kids to the beach during summer break.
“We deeply care about the children of our community, especially those in unfortunate circumstances. We want to try and help as much as possible to bring normalcy into their lives.”
Following the benefit’s registration at 9 a.m., bikers will depart from Advocates, 49 Monroe Crossing in Cartersville, at 11:30 a.m. The entrance cost, which also covers lunch, will be $20 per motorcycle.
“The Iron Order motorcycle ride means so much to our organization,” said Lyndsey Wilson, Flowering Branch’s shelter director. “Every year, it kicks off the summer in the best way. This ride is a fun event, but its purpose is to raise awareness and funding for Advocates for Children. Our organization relies on the community’s support and organizations, like the Iron Order Motorcycle Club, so that we can continue to provide services to children and families.
“… As the saying goes, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ It takes the support of all our community to build up our children. These community groups ensure that meals are donated, time is spent mentoring, events are organized and that we are financially supported.”
Accommodating a maximum of 12 individuals, Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter serves youth ages 8 to 18. Along with residents being placed through Division of Family and Children Services, the shelter also provides a temporary home for homeless or runaway youth.
“Each year, the ride raises funds to support summer activities for youth in Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter,” Wilson said, adding last year the benefit generated $10,500. “Through the generosity of riders, our youth are able to attend summer camps, take day trips and even travel to Tybee Island on our annual beach trip for residents.
“This ride allows us to create new memories for our kids that fill a challenging time in their lives with moments of fun and joy. It never fails; we always have one resident each year who gets to see the ocean for the very first time. We wouldn’t be able to make this happen without the support of the Iron Order.”
Formed in the 1980s, Advocates for Children assists more than 3,000 area youth and families each year.
Along with operating Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter, the nonprofit provides numerous programs that aid in the awareness, prevention and treatment of child abuse.
“With a desire to eradicate child abuse, Advocates’ programs provide an array of services to prevent child abuse and to offer interventions when necessary,” Wilson said. “These programs provide parenting sessions, forensic interviews, advocacy in the courtroom, shelter, grief support groups and assistance to first-time mothers in the hospital.
“Advocates is unique in its holistic approach to serving children, but it’s intentional by offering these multiple programs to ensure children have a voice and are not forgotten. Enduring abuse as a child is overwhelming, but it is our intent that we walk alongside these children in each part of their journey to provide them with comfort and hope.”
For more information about Advocates, visit http://advochild.org or contact the nonprofit at 770-387-1143. Those interested can pre-register for the ride and purchase raffle tickets through PayPal — TriedandTrue.IOMC@gmail.com.