Divine Ride invites upward mobility

Jul. 16, 2014 @ 10:10 AM

On Saturday, Aug. 9, bicycles will again inspire students from Thomasville City Schools to look beyond their current situations.

At first, it may seem a bit odd that a two-wheeled vehicle would make for the perfect method of transport from poverty to sustainability. That, however, is precisely what Tracy Brinkley, avid cyclist, event coordinator and founder of Project Divine Interruption, decided to utilize when she conceived of The Divine Ride.

For a fourth year, the event will bring cyclists from all around to the Chair City for a good cause. Brinkley describes the ride as a way to minister to 100 students in the TCS district considered by federal standards to be homeless.

“This event brings the community together in a different way than other events,” Brinkley said. “By encouraging individuals to stay fit, stay healthy, it brings together all generations. It brings together grandkids and grandparents...for a purpose.”

That purpose begins at Memorial United Methodist Church.

The Divine Ride started in August 2010 when Russ Gobble, president and CEO of the American Children's Home, organized an event to help Brinkley with mounting medical expenses. Brinkley, who organizes several MUMC projects, continued the legacy of that first event by renaming the annual cycling adventure that features 10-, 30- and 50-mile courses which begin and end at the church.

The nature of the event allows cyclists of all ages to enjoy the cause. Without a registration fee, The Divine Ride IV relies on the love offerings of its participants. According to Brinkley, 100 percent of the proceeds benefit the children.

“We always want to promote a healthy lifestyle,” she said. “Our whole church gets involved. People from our church will be at rest stops at Thom-a-Lex and Abbotts Creek Baptist Church, and we have support from TCS. Administrators come out and help people as well.

“It's definitely a combined effort.”

PDI gained national exposure last year when it was one of three projects discussed in the presentation that earned the city of Thomasville, among other things, the honor of being one of 10 places selected by the National Civic League as an All-America City.

Anyone who wishes to contribute to the cause without participating as a cyclist may purchase a Project Divine Interruption poster, available at the church, with a donation of $10 or more. Moreover, volunteers and cyclists are asked to bring a can of food for Cooperative Community Ministries, an agency that serves as a resource for families who benefit from Project Divine Interruption. Last year, over 700 pounds of food were collected.

For more information, contact Tracy Brinkley at 880-5875 or visit www.projectdivineinterruption.org.

Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 888-3575, or kennedy@tvilletimes.com.