SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Washing windows is paying off for Leroy, but not in the way you might expect.
“I like helping out people and I like doing stuff where I’m not sitting around, not doing much,” Earn Your Way participant Leroy said.
He isn’t earning any money for the work, but he is racking up hours for a new bike.
A pair of wheels could help open up doors for the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House guest.
“The bike will help me find a job,” Leroy said.
Leroy has been taking part in the Center of Hope’s Earn Your Way program.
The Sioux Falls non-profit started the program a couple years ago.
It allows people to do community service in exchange for items that can help them reach self-sufficiency.
“All the items in our earn your way program are meant to address those hurdles to employment,” Center of Hope director of programs Adam Hofer said.
In addition to bikes, the program also helps people earn IDs, birth certificates, work clothes, and steel-toe boots.
“The earn your way program is really for those who are looking for work, who are facing walls to employment. So a lot of jobs require an ID, so through the earn your way program, they can get an ID. Many people have a hard time getting to work, so the earn your way program allows them to get a bike, a good bike, through service hours,” Hofer said.
The community service is done at partner agencies in Sioux Falls.
The Center of Hope is currently working with seven in the community, including The Banquet.
From neighborhood cleanup to preparing and serving meals, Earn Your Way participants are having a positive impact on the food charity.
“It’s been really fun to see too that those people who have come to get those 3-4 hours, then they come back, and they become part of our normal stable of volunteers,” The Banquet director of development and marketing Andrew Hewitt said.
Back at the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House, Dewayne has also been working his way toward a new bike, which will help him travel back and forth to his job.
He works the night shift at a restaurant and says he gets off too late to catch the bus.
“I have to wait around until one of my bosses gets done with all their paperwork, and that gets to be about midnight by the time I get back here,” Earn Your Way participant Dewayne said.
After putting in about six hours of work, Leroy now has a brand new bike.
“We have learned in our many years of ministry at the Center of Hope that people in poverty must have some sweat equity in their betterment. Doing the work for them does not empower them in any way and does not dignify them in any way. What matters is empowering them to use their God-given gifts to bless our community through work and the earn your way program does that,” Hofer said.
Thanks to the Earn Your Way program, Leroy is now on the road to find employment.
“Going around town, looking for work, business places here in town where I can go to,” Leroy said.
His other goal is to find a place to call his own.
His new bike could help him get there too.
The Center of Hope is looking for volunteers to help restore its used bikes.