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Riding to help the homeless - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Riding to help the homeless

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ESSEX, Vt. - Far too often, advocates say, we look away, walk away from the nearly 3,000 people in Burlington that are homeless.

They say, "It's not us having to eat and sleep on the streets."

 That's why supporting Anew Place, an organization that helps the homeless find jobs and homes, is so important to one local motorcycle club.

"Anew place is talking about people that want to get back on their feet," said Michael Ticehurst.

Every year the Vermont section of the V-Twin cruisers rides to support Anew place. They raise awareness and money, over $3,000.

Nearly 75 percent of Anew Place's participants have jobs. The organization helps them find those jobs by encouraging setting goals for their self-improvement.

"We help each person to set goals for themselves," said Valerie Brosseau, the director of Anew Place. "Physical health, mental health, spiritual, social. Goals around finances and goals around jobs as well."

Michael Ticehurst was the lead organizer of the event for V-Twin Cruisers. His personal connection to the homeless community renders this event one of sentimental value.

"We took in a single parent," Ticehurst said. "A father with a little girl who were basically living in a dirt basement of a house. When we had heard about this, we asked them to come live with us which was about a year ago and has been living with us ever since."

And so they ride. Seventy-five strong for nearly three hours, starting at the Harley Davidson in Essex Junction.

What they give to Anew place, Valerie Brosseau says, cannot be replaced. 

"This fundraiser has been incredible for the organization. It's been great to raise awareness in a community where people are excited to hear about what we're doing," Brosseau said.

 V-Twin cruisers beat their goal of 65 riders as they say their ride continues to grow. They set their goal for riders based upon the previous year's total.
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