The Freewheel Project is a free nine week BMX clinic designed to help kids stay active through BMX, as well as receive advice on making healthy decisions.
“Our attitude determines what happens in life,” he says to a group of kids lined up at the starting line. “It’s important that we put the right things in ourselves. Are you ready to ride bikes?”
The program, based in the Woodward park BMX track, is seeing kids from all over the area attending. The kids participating get fitted for helmets, and are able to use bikes loaned to the program each session. All they have to do is show up.
Hoffman is passionate about doing whatever he can to ensure kids don’t go down the path of drugs and alcohol.
In 2002, after giving up BMX, Hoffman began a lifestyle of partying that led him down a path of painful addiction. In 2007 he hit rock bottom, participating in a home-invasion robbery, which resulted in a nearly two year prison sentence. While serving his sentence, Hoffman knew he had to make things right. He made the decision to return to BMX and to use it to help kids avoid making the mistakes he made. After a lot of dedication and hard work, the Freewheel Project was launched.
Hoffman began putting on free BMX clinics at Woodward and the response was great. Around 60 kids were showing up weekly, and others began reaching out to help.
Bell helmets and Kendra tires help to sponsor the program by supplying gear, and along with local support from Wells Fargo and Diamond Learning Center, the project is gaining momentum.
With Freewheel Project now expanding, Hoffman is looking to provide more activities for the kids participating.
One of the goals Hoffman has is mind, is to give a new bike to all the participants. The only requirements being that they attend all 9 weekly sessions and they follow the rules. “No bullying, no foul language, no throwing helmets,” Hoffman explained. “This isn’t just a come-get-a-bike program. There are rules. There has to be a commitment.”
He went on to emphasize the main focus of the program, “Our message is simple, make the right choices, follow the right people, and most importantly never give up on your dreams.”
Right now, Hoffman has raised enough money for about 85 bikes, and with around 100 kids expected to complete the program there is more help needed.
Hoffman doesn’t want to stop though, he envisions expanding the program beyond the Fresno area. He wants to reach more youth through “missionary” trips to Mexico, teaching the locals and supplying them with equipment to start their own programs.
After a long and painful battle with drug addiction, and now more than 5 years clean and sober, Hoffman carries a great message of hope. No matter how dark of a place you may find yourself in, there is a way out. Not only is freedom available to you, but you have the ability to overcome and help others overcome.
If you would like to contribute to the Freewheel Project visit www.freewheelproject.org
If you know someone who is battling addiction, please contact us.
Original article fresnobee.com
Photo courtesy of morguefile