Gainesville Opportunity Center hosts first Bike Day event to support those with mental illness

Clubhouses help people with serious mental illnesses find recovery through meaningful work and employment.
Published: May. 1, 2022 at 11:16 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - It may not have been a race, but bikers still pedaled as fast as they could to support people with mental illness. The Gainesville Opportunity Center hosted its first Bike Day Bike Ride and the organization is meant to help those with mental disabilities engage in the community.

“There’s 300 clubhouses in the world, 14 of them are in Florida and one of them is in Gainesville, Florida,” said Michael Conlon, president of the GOC.

This wasn’t the first time business owner Mark Rodriguez has supported the GOC as his restaurant donates to a “Round up” for charity program.

“Which is where when you pay at the register, you can round up to the next dollar and then after three months, after every quarter, we donate all that money to a local charity that we try work with and that we think does really good things for the community,” said Mark Rodriguez, owner of Satch Squared.

Clubhouses help people with serious mental illnesses find recovery through meaningful work and employment. Rodriguez said he’s excited to start partnering with the GOC to give people an opportunity to get back to work. “We really try to help out our community as much as we possibly can you know.”

According to the GOC, people with chronic mental illness can spend a lifetime in and out of jail, homelessness and psychiatric hospitals and some haven’t been able to work in years.

“I think it’s a great partnership to kind of help out those people, to like get them used to working again in like a really limited fission you know, so they can kind of build up that self confidence and kind of build up the skills that they need to like get back into the workforce,” said Rodriguez.

Dozens of cyclists at Depot Park agree the GOC offers that kickstart to those who need it the most.

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