I am a Bike Club volunteer
Jimmy Jones, President and CEO, Triad Bank
"As soon as I heard about it."
That is how long it took to decide Jimmy Jones if volunteering for Bike Club was right for him. Like many volunteers, Jones simply overheard a conversation. This particular conversation was between Bike Club stalwarts Gary Percefull and Mike Wozniak.
"What are you two talking about?" That's really all it takes sometimes. Bike Club immediately resonated for Jones as a cyclist and a presenting sponsor for a local bike racing team.
Soon, Jones realized it might be perfect for his company, Triad Bank, as well.
As the President and CEO of Tulsa's, Triad Bank, Jones believes in the power of community-based efforts. Not as a business decision but a neighborly one.
"I just want to be involved in the community," explained Jones.
Businesses, schools, and organizations do not exist in vacuums, explained Jones. Each makes up a part of our entire community.
"I want to be with people that support the same things I do," said Jones. "Sure, it's great if people bring their accounts to Triad," said Jones. But for Jones, this is about building something larger: a sustained community effort that benefits everyone, especially kids.
Today, Triad Bank volunteers in two schools, Disney Elementary and Anderson Elementary. For the 30-person workforce of Triad Bank, the time away a few hours a week has been easy to navigate.
"And not all of them are cyclists either," laughed Jones. Being a cyclist is not important to volunteer for Bike Club. Jones says only one thing really matters.
"Just show up. I think the most important thing is hanging out," said Jones. Jones said Bike Club was locked out of the room where the bikes are stored one day. They found a kickball and asked the kids if they wanted to play. They all looked at each other.
A quizzical look came over the kids. "Kickball?" Every one of their Bike Club kids could name their favorite soccer (or fútball) star. But they had never played kickball.
What was a day that was momentarily in danger of being lost turned into a hilarious day of learning a whole new sport for the kids and a memorable day for volunteers.
"That was pretty awesome," Jones laughs.
The bikes are secondary for the impact on Bike Club kids but integral in developing confidence.
"In the beginning, there's always shy kids," explained Jones. "After a couple of [club] sessions, they open up. Then get the confidence to ride the bike and smile and have a good time as they become more comfortable on the bike and with the volunteers.
"Especially when kids don't know how to ride a bike," added Jones. "It's like how we feel when we ride bikes. It never really changes from when you are a kid."
It's such a core memory — that moment that you learn how to make the connection to ride a bicycle everybody remembers that moment.
Another favorite memory for Jones has nothing to do with bikes at all. "We went to a bakery and a fire station. The bakery was the coolest. We got to sit around with the kids at the table and eat donuts."
"I think the kids really enjoyed that," Jones says laughing like someone who might have had even more fun than the Bike Club kids.
These moments matter for kids and volunteers alike.
If you or your organization wants to strengthen your community and have a blast doing it, please reach out to Bike Club at contact us.
Stories by: Andy Wheeler
Photography by: Melissa Lukenbaugh