Casa Girasoles Sanos Equipo de Ciclismo
Jean Paul (not his real name) grew up in a home with five other brothers and sisters. From the moment he could remember, nothing was easy in his life. This was particularly true about finding stability on a day-to-day basis.
His mother worked every day in the fields, and his father was rarely home. Most of his childhood was spent raising himself and his younger brothers and sisters. By the time he was 8, he was spending most of his time on the streets looking for ways to make some money, or searching for something – anything – that he could bring home to his brothers and sisters. Soon what little time he did spend going back home ended.
When he came to live with us at the age of 11, he was pretty hard into the streets. The one thing that made him open up, and talk, was riding a bicycle. When he was on the bike, everything seemed to flow. Discussions, challenges, and even fears – all came to the surface. The bicycle became a mechanism for a deeper connection. It became a portal to healing.
Today, Jean Paul rides on the Casa Girasoles Cycling Team. And at 16 years old, he’s a mentor and leader in our Casa Girasoles home for formerly abandoned children. He has connection with his brothers and sisters, and even his mother comes to visit every once in a while. But more than anything else, he’s begun to forge his own life and to think about what his future will look like. And a big part of that has been because of the time he spent on his bicycle.
The Casa Girasoles Bicycle
So far the team has managed pretty well with their old, heavily-used bicycles. But in order to be eligible for participation in sanctioned events, the team must possess a “national” level of equipment and clothing. This includes a bicycle with disc brakes, integrated shifting, wheels and tires in an excellent operational state, and personal cycling equipment including a jersey and shorts, socks and helmet.
We’re working to provide the boys with equipment that is durable, efficient, and suitable for the extremely rough surfaces they encounter on the desert roads near Ica, and mountainous environment of the Sacred Valley.
Every Cyclist Is Only As Good As Their Support Team
Your help is needed and there are a number of ways you can make this project a reality:
- Generate awareness by spreading the word among your friends, cycling group, Church or civic community (mention in weekly announcements, at leadership meetings, pre-service slides, etc.)
- Donate quality cycling equipment, tools, or parts that can be used or resold to help fund the purchase of a new bicycle.
- Consider completely funding one or more of the team’s bikes. Typically, a bike costs about $1,100 to acquire and transport to Perú.