Hope Solutions has always placed a high value on our partnerships across the Contra Costa community, which has allowed us to provide the greatest number of services and opportunities to our clients. Last month, the children at one of our permanent supportive housing sites, the Garden Park Apartments (GPA) complex in Pleasant Hill, were selected to be the recipients of brand-new bicycles, courtesy of the Miles Hall Foundation’s ‘Bikes for Miles’ program and partnership with NAMI Contra Costa.
As part of the ‘Bikes for Miles’ program, children from low-income families in the county are gifted bicycles in remembrance of Miles Hall, a 23-year-old man who was shot and killed by police in Walnut Creek during a mental health episode in 2019. The Miles Hall Foundation was set up by his family to ensure that local people living with mental illnesses receive quality care when experiencing an episode.
Miles’ mother and the Miles Hall Foundation Executive Director, Taun Hall, identified Hope Solutions because she wanted to bring joy to the children at Garden Park Apartments. “We wanted to share what would have been Miles’ 26th birthday and discuss mental health and the importance of destigmatizing mental health conditions.”
On a sunny afternoon, the children of Garden Park Apartments (GPA) gathered in excitement to watch as the Miles Hall Foundation rolled in 16 bicycles, alongside pizza, cupcakes, and refreshments for them and the parents to enjoy. Before the bike giveaway, Miles’ mother, Taun, and Pastor Chris Williams from the Power Church in Brentwood, both gave moving speeches, celebrating both Miles’ life, and the legacy that he has left on our community. Then, bikes and matching helmets were handed out to sixteen children, who immediately strapped the helmets on and started cycling around.
One resident reflected “it was a blessing to meet the family of Miles Hall and for them to give back the way they did to bless so many families and turn a tragedy into something positive. My kids had smiles on their faces and are loving their new bicycles!”
Emily Linaman, LCSW, Clinical and Support Services Supervisor at Hope Solutions noted how the families were so grateful and excited for the opportunity to receive new bicycles and helmets. She shares,
“But even more impactful than getting new bikes was getting to hear the story of Miles Hall- a young black man with great potential and love for his family, his church and his community. The kids who received the bicycles got to hear about how Miles loved to ride his bicycle, his struggle with mental illness, and his untimely death while he was having a mental health crisis.
For these children to witness upfront and firsthand how impacted communities can turn something tragic and devastating into something positive and community-building was truly an uplifting and empowering experience they will not soon forget.”
The day would not have been possible without the partnership of the Contra Costa branch of the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) under the leadership of Executive Director Gigi Crowder. Gigi connected The Miles Hall Foundation with Hope Solutions, stating that “Hope Solutions was selected due to its intensive and long-standing work to alleviate the challenges that mental illness presents in securing and retaining stable housing’.” NAMI Contra Costa also funded bike locks, donated the food for the day, and lent critical staff and volunteer support.
Hope Solutions wants to thank all the hard-working people at the Miles Hall Foundation and NAMI Contra Costa for providing our clients with an experience they will never forget!
“The bicycles were great because bikes are a safe space for kids to be free, feel confident, just have fun and be who they are- no matter what their race or skin color.”
– Haley, GPA resident mother of bike recipients of Miles Hall Remembrance Day