Biker names of the members of Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) pictured here are, back row, Joker, CB, Wrench, Bubbles, Smoke, Pops, Whiplash, Rhino, Bear, Stitch, Boe, Buck, Scream, Jon Boy. Middle, Lady Bella, Homeboy. On the bikes are Saucy, Chill, Mini Phoenix, Sis. Front Squish, Goober, Monkey, Ree-Ree. Not pictured are Tinman, Nav-Witch, Grumpy, Diesel, Budda, Shovelhead and Billy Bob. The group will ride this Saturday for their first Minnesota fundraising ride. Photo by Tara Lindquist
By Tara Lindquist
They rumble in on two wheels, riding as a cavalry; individuals making a combined mass of steel, rubber and leather. The thunder of their exhaust is heard for miles, their look catches second glances - scary and intimidating. As they ride up the street, the child waiting doesn't feel fear but is comforted and reassured. The thunderous sound means his knights on steel horses are here to protect him. This time the tough biker image works for the good. Rugged and weathered, the men and women of BACA, Bikers Against Child Abuse, park their bikes and offer gifts - a teddy bear, stickers and a small vest made for the child.
BACA is a nonprofit volunteer organization that offers children a family and peace of mind after being abused. Each member of BACA must go through a rigorous background check, special training and be active with the group for a year or more before they receive their BACA patch.
"We do it for the kids," Owatonna branch founder "Pops" explained.
"We offer them support and love and make them feel safe after they've been abused."
The Owatonna BACA organization was founded last August by Pops and his wife "Chill" (their biker names). The couple had been active with a chapter of BACA in Utah. When the couple moved back to Minnesota to be closer to their grandchildren they decided they wanted to start a chapter in the area. "We missed it," Pops said. "It's a lot of work to start a chapter, we started forming it in August and we're finally able to take on cases."
BACA works with local law enforcement, social services and individuals to get referrals of children that have been abused. They have a help hotline that takes calls 24/7. The hardest part is finding volunteers that are willing to make the commitment to BACA. "It's a lot," Pops, said. "Everyone pays for everything themselves, their vests and patches, everything we raise through fundraisers goes towards buying things for the kids not to our volunteers."
Law enforcement officers, social services or individuals can refer children who are going through the court system after being abused to BACA. Once a referral has been made and the intake process is completed the child is given two contact people in the organization. A child then receives what is called a Level One, which is when the BACA group rides to their home meets with the child, offers them support, gives them their own BACA vest and road name as well as filling a teddy bear full of hugs. BACA members will also camp out on lawns of children that have been abused if they feel threatened or scared.
"Our members will surround the homes if needed," Pops said.
They will also go to court with the child to show support for their young wounded friends. "We'll sit in the court room for however long the trial lasts, we'll be there to support the child so they don't feel fear or feel alone."
The Owatonna Chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse will hold their first annual bike ride on May 17, leaving, Reggie's Brew House at 11 a.m., registration is from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. The ride will have stops at Signature's Bar & Grill in Faribault, Harold's Club in Dodge Center, Tolly's in Austin Kwik Trip in Albert Lea, Box Car in Waseca and will end at Reggie's Brew House.
This event is being held to raise awareness of BACA in southern Minnesota. It is being held in conjunction with the world-wide BACA 100 mile ride, where every BACA member rides a 100 miles on the third Saturday in May. The Owatonna BACA Chapter is opening up their ride to anyone that would like to participate and learn more about the group, their mission and what services they offer to child abuse victims in local communities.
"It's going to be a fun day and we hope we have a lot of other riders that join us," Pops said. "We are always looking for new volunteers to join us."
For more information about BACA or the ride you are invited to contact Pops at (507) 507 213 7159.
If you know of a child who has been a victim of abuse and could benefit from BACA's services you can call their help line at (507) 400-2131 calls are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Posted: Wednesday, May 14, 2014
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This organization is wonderful for children, they look out for them, help them in what ever way they can. Bikers get a bad rap but people remember its not what you see on the outside but what they are on the inside and they would drop anything for a child in need. If anyone knows of a child who is being abused contact this organization and they will come to help.l Bless Them