Allow me to take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Julia Eklund and I am the Spring Support Staff for A Tiny Home for Good. I grew up in Alexandria, Virginia and am now a student at Syracuse University studying Policy Studies. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have stumbled upon Andrew Lunetta and his inspiring organization. My journey to THG begins with an organization called OrangeSeeds. This organization ignited my love for community service and the Syracuse community.
Each Saturday, for two years, all 35 members of OrangeSeeds took a bus down from the hill to one of the many local non-profits or parks in Syracuse City. We completed various projects from painting and mopping to planting and raking. Each organization we worked with showed us such gratitude after we completed our task. I always left knowing that we had helped an organization save an expense, time or effort. But I also had a lingering feeling that I could do more.
After each project, our bus took us back up on the hill. I always encouraged my friends to look outside. We passed by abandoned homes, parks with overgrown grass and bushes, broken windows and chipped paint. I thought to myself “there has got to me something more I can do.”
After two years with OrangeSeeds, I can confidently say that I found a way to do more. While looking for a local internship, my professor, Dr. Bill Coplin suggested I consider THG. Quickly, I connected with my classmate and the THG Fall Support Staff, Michelle Kincaid, to learn about the organization. I fell in love with the mission and knew that this would give me the opportunity to give back to my community. While with THG, my goal is to spread the word about homelessness and about our mission.
Thank you to Andrew Lunetta for giving me this opportunity and to the Board of Directors for such a warm welcome. I look forward to working alongside each of you.
~Julia Eklund, Spring Support Staff
An Old Partnership
While volunteering at a homeless shelter, Andrew Lunetta noticed that each morning the men wandered from the shelter with no place to go and nothing to do. Lunetta, along with another shelter aid, Keith Cieplicki, wanted to create an opportunity for the people at the shelter.
Launched in 2011, Pedals to Possibilities is a community bike ride program that welcomes people from all walks of life, including those who have experienced homelessness in their lifetime. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, you can find between 15-20 people ranging from city councilmen to retired professionals biking together from the Brady Faith Center. The program encourages people to join with the promise that after 10 rides, they get to keep their bike.
Homeless people are often overlooked by people on the street. They experience loneliness and boredom. Pedals to Possibilities offers those who struggle with homelessness greater mobility and a chance to connect with people in their community.
Pedals to Possibilities and A Tiny Home for Good share a similar dedication to improving the lives of homeless people. In fact, five of the riders from Pedals to Possibilities are now involved with a Tiny Home for Good. Ted, Dolphus and James, who now live in three of our tiny homes, are devoted riders and two of our board members, Kris Kratzert and Bob Dougherty are also avid riders in the program. The partnership between these two organizations will continue to strengthen as they both work towards combatting homelessness and uniting our community.