Fifty-five cyclists to cross finish line at ACU for
fund-raising bicycle trek
For immediate release
August 6, 1999
ABILENE - Fifty-five cyclists will complete a 350-mile
bicycle trek at Abilene Christian University's Mabee College
of Business Administration parking lot Saturday, Aug. 7. The
trek is a fund-raising effort for Christian children's
services affiliated with the Impact Church of Christ in
Cyclists will be crossing the finish line at
approximately 12:45-1 p.m. Abilene city councilman Rob
Beckham and ACU Vice President Gary McCaleb will be standing
ready to welcome the cyclists to Abilene with plenty of
water and other refreshments.
Dubbed the Chain Gang Ride, the effort generates funds
for Small Steps Nurturing Center and Impact Youth
Development Center, two youth programs of the Impact Houston
Church of Christ, located in Houston's inner city.
The cyclists have been travelling from Houston to Abilene
since Aug. 4. The Chain Gang Ride is fully supported with
sag wagons, regular water and snack stops, medical personnel
and comfortable accommodations at night. Evening meals were
provided by churches along the route.
History of the Chain Gang Ride
Charlie Middlebrook, a missionary in residence in the
Department of Missions at ACU and Impact Houston minister,
had cycled the 350-mile trip several times already when
David Pratt, a Houston business consultant who took a class
at ACU under Middlebrook in 1995, suggested he put his
effort toward a good cause.
In August 1995, the Chain Gang Ride rolled out its first
six bikers to raise $35,000 for Small Steps and to celebrate
Middlebrook's 50th birthday.
Small Steps Nurturing Center and Impact Youth Development
Center evolved from the work of a group of inner-city
Christians at Impact Houston Church of Christ who saw an
opportunity to strike at the root of the problems affecting
the inner city by practically applying the Good Samaritan
Small Steps was begun by Christians who believe every
child is special and deserves a helping hand when life is
difficult. The center provides children, ages 2 to 5, a
strong foundation for entering school. Instructors teach the
fundamentals of numbers, letters and colors along with a
positive self-image supported by a nurturing environment.
Dr. Marianna Rasco, chair of ACU's Department of Family and
Consumer Sciences, and Melanie Copelin, an ACU graduate and
director of the center, developed the program.
The Impact Youth Development Center is a safe place for
teens, ages 14 to 18, to go after school and on weekends to
prepare for service and leadership in their community.
Caring adults equip the teens who were once part of city
gangs or who have few positive influences in their lives
with life and job skill training, computer training and math
and reading tutoring.
Both programs are "not for profit" organizations,
depending solely on outside financial support. The Board of
Directors chose not to solicit or accept funding from the
federal government. All donations are fully tax
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- Last update: August 6, 1999
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