FULTON, NY – The sound of dozens of motorcycles echoed through Fulton as the ARISE Ride for Ramps fundraiser celebrated its 10th year at Lakeview Lanes.
A fundraiser for the Oswego County Ramp Program, Saturday’s (June 2) event began with a four-hour motorcycle ride and followed up with food, music, and fun.
“This is a great event because it gives people access to their community. It gives people access to their independence. And we couldn’t do it without all of you,” Tania Anderson, CEO of ARISE told the bikers before they headed out on their ride.
Pastor Vivian told the group this is one event where everyone wins – the riders win as they get to ride, the consumers win as they are granted independence, and the volunteers win as they get help in providing ramps to those in need.
Much like the ARISE vision statement, she said, the event serves to give back to the community and to humanity.
She led the group of bikers through a prayer for their safety before Jason Noyes, originator of the Ride for Ramps motorcycle ride, led the group for the tenth year in a row.
Members of the Oswego County Comets RC, Doug Grandjean and Dave Comes said they chose to participate in the ride not only because they love to ride, but mainly to help raise money for a worthy cause, as the group often does with several other fundraisers.
ARISE took over the Ramp Program from the First United Methodist Church in Oswego 10 years ago as the need grew bigger and has since “morphed it,” event coordinator Chris Scoville said.
The Ramp Program has continued to evolve each year and now reaches Oswego, Cayuga, Seneca and Onondaga counties and will eventually encompass Madison County as well.
In the early stages of the program, Scoville recalls the Ramp Program constructing roughly 17 ramps in a year. Last year, the Ramp Program provided 51 ramps to those in need in Oswego County alone.
The Ride for Ramps fundraiser, too, has grown immensely over the years.
“It’s gotten bigger every year,” Scoville said. What started off with a handful of riders and a small gathering has blossomed into the ever popular event that it is today.
The main focus of the event is to bring awareness to the program, he added.
Considering the Ramp Program runs solely off of donations and volunteer labor, awareness is essential to ensure the program remains successful.
“The Ramp Program is a critical part of what ARISE does, it’s all about our philosophy. It’s making sure that people who happen to have a physical disability are able to access the community, they can live in their own homes, come and go as they want, participate in their community. We want to make sure that there’s no barrier for someone with a disability being in our community,” CEO Anderson said.
The Ride for Ramps fundraiser is an intricate part of keeping the Ramp Program thriving, she said.
Typical ramps range between $2,000 – $3,000 each to construct and assemble available in either wood or aluminum.
The ramps are built in sections at First United Methodist Church in Oswego.
They are brought to the location of need where they are put together on site. When the ramps are no longer needed, the sections can be disassembled and reused as long as they remain in safe condition.
The Ramp Program, similar to the ARISE Farm in Chittenango, is considered a “gateway program,” Anderson said.
“The Ramp Program is something that people literally can drive by and see a group of volunteers building a ramp, it sparks their interest. They understand what a ramp can do for people. There’s a lot ARISE has to offer that’s not necessarily visible, so these visible programs serve as a gateway to what ARISE can offer,” she explained.
The 10th year of Ride for Ramps featured vendors, bounce houses, raffle prizes donated by dozens of local businesses, music from Bryan Syrell and Off the Reservation, and a food truck competition.
The event was a true testament to community support, Betty DeFazio, Chief Development Officer for ARISE said.
“It’s so impressive how the community comes together to benefit other members of the community. I think that’s the really wonderful thing about today is not only is this a community based, volunteer supported program, but it’s really making a difference in access for people to get in and out of their homes,” she said.
The Ramp Program funding is offset by community donors and supporters including G&C Foods, Raby’s ACE Home Center, Exelon Generation, EATON, Compass Credit Union, NBT Bank, Oswego Rotary Club, Walmart Foundation, and Scriba Meats.
Anyone interested in volunteering to assist with the Ramp Program may contact Scott Pecoy, ARISE Housing Advocate at (315) 342-4088 ext 213
Visit ARISEInc.org for more information on the Ramp Program and all that ARISE has to offer.
About ARISE, Inc.
ARISE is a non-profit Independent Living Center run by and for people with disabilities.
The organization has been providing advocacy and services since 1979.
Each year ARISE works with approximately 7,000 people of all ages who have all types of disabilities.
ARISE has offices in Onondaga, Oswego, Madison, Cayuga, and Seneca counties.