June 28, 2012
Photos: by Kara Starzyk/Sun Sentinel

West Palm Beach, FL – The Doyle Award for Nonprofit Excellence, established by The Dennis M. and Lois A. Doyle Family Foundation in partnership with Sun Sentinel Charities, spotlights local nonprofit sand the people behind them that make South Florida a great place to live. The award, which includes a $1,000 donation, will be given to one nonprofit in Broward County and one in Palm Beach County each month through December 2012.

“This award pays tribute to the many charitable organizations that quietly but effectively serve our community,” said Doyle Family Foundation Founder, Denny Doyle. “The Doyle Award wants to recognize these organizations and the people who without fanfare carry out their mission.”

Dennis Doyle and Lois Doyle donate their daughter’s old bicycle to Jack the Bike Man.

For the past 20 years, the Doyle Family Foundation has endowed more than 100 scholarships and events in the name of outstanding individuals, institutions and nonprofit organizations that have had a significant impact on their communities.

What started as a neighborly favor has turned into a productive nonprofit program for underprivileged children of migrant workers and their parents. In 1999 Samuel Henry “Jack” Hairston III helped a young man repair his bicycle and soon the word had spread as the boy’s friends brought more bicycles in need of fixing, even Jack’s friends brought over old bicycles for him to fix up and give to the neighborhood children. Now, Hairston is known as Jack the Bike Man, the namesake for the charity that works to provide education, guidance and training that will assist children of migrants in their transition to a new life in the U.S.

Volunteer Joonas Niiholm repairs a bicycle.

The organization runs a used bicycle shop where youth participate in the repair of bicycles. Here, they can participate in after-school programs and meet with counselors who provide language-comprehension classes, emotional support and mentoring. They have the opportunity to gain volunteer hours while learning valuable mechanic skills and interact in a productive environment that promotes responsible decision making.

Jack Hairston, known as Jack The Bike Man, at his shop located in West Palm Beach.

The nonprofit utilizes a “three bicycle program” for children in need of a bicycle: the first bike they help to repair is for the organization to distribute; the second bike gets donated to a friend who does not own one; the third one they help repair is the one they get to keep. If a child is too young to be trained on bike repair they are encouraged to go into neighborhoods where they can pickup trash so that they are able to productively help the community. Two of the original kids to receive a bicycle and volunteer with Jack the Bike Man have graduated from high school and are now employed by the bike store as mechanics.

(left- right) Joonas Niiholm, Willie Berduo, Pablo Lopez y Uriel Ramos

Officers and board of directors include: Founder and Executive Director, Samuel Henry “Jack” Hairston III; President, Tom Rassiga, owner of Bicyclery and producer of “Dyer Challenge” fundraising event; Vice President, Louis A. Lara; Secretary, Joanne Bishop; and Treasurer, Mariano Garcia. Board Members include: Christian Clinton, Ed Jettinghoff, Paul Gryglass and Wayne Risius.

Joonas Niiholm, front left, Willie Berduo and Pablo Lopez; Mariano Garcia, back left, Wayne Risius, Joanne Bishop, Paul Gryglas, Jack Hairston, Tom Rassiga, Javier Lopez, Chris Clinton and Louis Lara.
The organization provides a venue for youth to volunteer and receive assistance from adults in hopes of instilling productive values.