SANDPOINT, Idaho — A group dedicated to raising awareness for people with disabilities is making their annual bike trip across the country and they are stopping in the Inland Northwest on Thursday. The group, Journey of Hope, will be making a stop at Panhandle Special Needs in Sandpoint.
Panhandle Special Needs serves 150-200 people every year and are the only adult program in the Sandpoint area. Trinity Nicholson has been with the program for decades. She said, “Life skills is our biggest training… We help people live more independently in their communities live, work and play." Nicholson added, "We work with people who have so many challenges, they're always so happy and willing to try against, you know, all these challenges and against the odds. I think that the will to do it just makes me happy."
Workers at Panhandle Special Needs do all this work without much recognition at all. Nicholson said, “It’s a very quiet community, a very silent voice.”
The group Journey of Hope is helping to change that. Nicholson explained, “Cyclist teams are riding across the U.S. from the West Coast to the East Coast to raise awareness for people with disabilities. It is amazing.”
Journey of Hope will stop at different organizations along the way. Nicholson called the stop in Sandpont, “The highlight of our year. Our clients love it so much.”
Tyler Smith, a Panhandle Special Needs client will deejay the event while the rest of the group does a flash mob. The group has been practicing their moves to surprise the bikers at lunch. Smith said, “I really just like to see all the clients dancing and smiling. It just puts me in a good heart.”
Journey of Hope will have more than 100 men ride 12,000 miles across the country from the west coast and ending at the Capitol Lawn in Washington D.C.
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