On April 25 at 8:45 a.m., Geoff Ables and others will crank up their engines and start off on the first Second Chance Ride—a motorcycle ride to raise awareness about obstacles faced by the 1 in 3 American adults with a criminal record. Geoff has been in the business of "people engagement" his entire career. Through his business, C5 Insight, he helps organizations change how they collaborate with colleagues, customers, prospects, and partner. Geoff and his team have worked with Prison Fellowship® to develop an internal communications network, among other projects. We asked Geoff to share more about the Second Chance Ride and what he's hoping it accomplishes.
Prison Fellowship: What is the Second Chance Ride?
GEOFF ABLES: First and foremost, this is to support Second Chance™ Month by raising awareness of the people out there who are not being given a second chance. If they were, they would be able to contribute to their society, family, community in ways they can't right now. [Giving second chances is] good for society, too, by making it safer and lowering costs and helping people get on with their life. But our society is not giving those second chances.
The Second Chance Ride is a four-day journey that will start in Charlotte, N.C., and go through Washington, D.C., ending at the Prison Fellowship offices in Lansdowne, Va., just outside D.C. I'm hoping the ride will help increase awareness of the obstacles faced by formerly incarcerated people. I want North Carolina and Virginia to become second chance states to help bring awareness to state governments and businesses.
What made you want to organize the ride?
It's falling in love with the mission of Prison Fellowship. I'm a guy who believes in giving second chances in general. I've worked with people who have needed a second chance and have seen some of them absolutely flourish. When you've been forgiven much, you tend to have a deep appreciation for what others take for granted. And I've got a lot of passion around the freedom you feel on the back of a bike. I wanted to put together those two passions.
It became clear that there's a gap out there: not enough people are talking about the problems with incarceration and former prisoners rejoining society. And the biker community is a powerful and meaningful place to have that conversation. No one else was standing in that gap, so it was something I could do.
I'm doing it for the ones who will take a second chance if it is given to them. Maybe that's 99% of those that it is offered to. But even if it's only 1%, that's who I'm doing it for. Even if it's only that 1%, it's worth it.
What do you want incarcerated men and women to know about the Second Chance Ride?
That there are people outside of the prison walls who actually care about them, who want to see them be given another chance, and to make the very most of that chance. We want to see them have the full, rich life that they were intended to have, living in community with their neighbors and family and friends, making a contribution. And there are people out there fighting for them to be able to do that.
What will you be riding?
My gray Harley-Davidson Street Glide 2016. Harley-Davidson introduced the Milwaukee 8 engine in 2016. It represents many years of many different innovations embodied in a single bike to deliver performance, agility, and comfort. I upgraded from a smaller bike to this touring bike, so I can go on longer trips with my wife, June.
How can people help if they're interested?
If you live in or near one of the legs of the ride, we'd love to have you join us. We're also looking for sponsors that can donate to cover the costs for those who want to ride but need some help or to donate items to a silent auction at the end of the event.
We already have silent auction donations including handcrafted ceramics from Jars of Dust, a touring ride with Ride America Tours, marketing services from Nations Media Group, and my firm, C5 Insight, is donating a Customer Relationship Management or Microsoft SharePoint workshop.
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