Bikers Raise Money For Children's Books

By: Shannon Kantner Email
By: Shannon Kantner Email

 "Just read, man. I'm a simple man with a simple plan. Read, and encourage others to read."

Badge Velasquez

Beneath their biker exteriors, they're really just a bunch of bookworms.

"I just enjoy reading," road captain and Bikers for Books founder Badge Velasquez said. "Just read man. I'm a simple man with a simple plan. Read, and encourage others to read."

It's that love for literature that brought three bikers from three different Mid-Michigan motorcycle clubs together to form Bikers for Books with one goal: get children interested in reading, too.

"My son, he isn't really interested in reading a fairy tale, but if you give him a book about sharks or lions or tractors or motorcycles, he'll read all day long," Velasquez said.

Those non-fiction books that appeal to lower reading levels are what many schools need more of, but lack the funding. So, Bikers for Books is raising money that will be donated directly to schools and earmarked for those readers. It's an effort that hits close to home for the other bikers.

"I was a slow reader in school," Bruiser said. "It took me forever to read a book for a book report."

Bikers for Books are taking their efforts on the road, too. They've already scheduled several assemblies at schools around Mid-Michigan, and teachers said they just might be the answer to getting kids excited about reading.

"It takes away some of the stereotypes about reading," Principal Brock Peters of Fern Persons Elementary in Olivet said. "We have kids who are fired up about reading, but we also have kids who, it's not their favorite thing to do. So this may be an angle to get at those type of kids."

Bikers for Books offers a "cool factor" for the kids, but to Badge, Brusier, and Tank, it's the father factor that's more important.

"We're not trying to be nothing we're not," Velasquez said. "We're bikers, we're dads, and I want to go in there and make these kids happy."

They're also collecting gently-used books to donate to shelters. After just one week, they've collected 200.

A Bikers for Books run is scheduled for Sept. 21 in Charlotte.

Anyone is welcome to make a donation. You can visit Bikers for Books website at the link below.


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