I recently moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles and my first week out here I found myself standing on the Santa Monica pier surrounded by ex-felons and I couldn’t imagine spending my day any other way. I had the pleasure of being asked by the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC) to photograph Pedal on the Pier yesterday, a super cool fundraising event for the Harold Robinson Foundation to raise money to send less fortunate kids to camp!
I know going to camp may not seem like such a big deal to some but, having come from a less privileged background myself, I know how access to certain experiences can be life changing, allowing you to see yourself in a way you haven’t before. I never went camping until I was an adult and could take myself, and this speaks to a larger picture of an upbringing where I was underexposed to a lot of great experiences, something this foundation hopes to remedy for these kids.
Members of ARC were there from the wee hours of the morning until well after the event was over, setting up, checking people in, providing security, passing around water and towels, offering whatever kind of assistance they could. Resources made accessible by ARC have equipped these formerly-incarcerated members with the type of skills that make them indispensable not just in the workplace but at events like this. Members were responsible for coordinating this large scale production, providing professional videography service and providing a high level of customer service.
ARC also had their own cycling team: Helping to reach this year’s goal of one million dollars raised, they took turns pumping pedals alongside celebrities and other non-profit groups, led along by pumping beats, an active dance floor, and the desire to contribute to a great cause.
At the end of the day, the goal to raise one million dollars was met and surpassed, and it was done in fresh air, on a wave of group energy, and now more kids than ever will feel the positive impact of a respite from their daily stressors.