natural awakenings Washington, D.C. Metro edition interviewed HJF director.
Happy, Joyous and Freewheeling:
Empowering Underserved Communities Through Safe Cycling
The personal and environmental benefits of riding a bike are numerous, and many people take the ability to ride for granted. Bike enthusiast David Nam, however, does not. “You remember the first time you got a bike or the first time you learned to ride a bike. There is nothing else like it.” That feeling of freedom and empowerment and a desire to give that gift to others led Nam to create his biking nonprofit organization Happy, Joyous and Freewheeling (HJF).
HJF provides bikes, helmets, bike locks and bike education to D.C. area youth, free of charge, through after-school programs and workshops. Younger children are taught how to ride bikes and proper bike safety, while teenagers and young adults learn how to fix and maintain them. HJF also helps their graduates find internships and employment within their organization or at local bike shops.
HJF has been funded solely through personal contributions thus far. And while donated bikes do not seem hard for the organization to come by, financial contributions and volunteers are needed. HJF is looking for enthusiastic bike riders to volunteer their time as mentors and fundraisers. Sharing the joy of bike riding within one’s community or encouraging the neighborhood kids to get off their smartphones and on their bikes, furthers HJF’s goals. “We want to make sure the community is involved in this, and ultimately, we want to see that the kids have the opportunity to enjoy exercise in nature,” says Nam.
For more information on how to be part of Happy, Joyous and Freewheeling, or if you are a teacher interested in bringing their bike programs to your school, visit HappyJoyousAndFreewheeling.org.