In this episode Kristin and Bill are joined by Justine Darmanian, Manager of Kids Rides and Volunteer Operations. We discuss the PMC Kids Rides program; the riders, volunteers, donors, sponsors along with the Impact from the ride and how to get involved.
Thank you to our sponsor Sundin Sports Marketing - Putting Your Ideas Into Action.
Special thank you to Joe Zarbano for overseeing editing and production.
This is The PMC Podcast with Kristin Brandt and Bill Alfano. On today's episode, we welcome Justine Darmanian Manager of Kids Rides for the PMC. Now here's Kristen Brandt and Bill Alfano and you're listening to The PMC Podcast.
Kristin Brandt: 0:20
I am here with my co host, Bill Alfano.
Bill Alfano: 0:23
Kristin Brandt: 0:25
Kristin Brandt: 0:26
And we are welcoming Justine, the Manager of Kids Rides and Volunteer Operations.
Justine Darmanian: 0:32
Kristin Brandt: 0:33
How you doing?
Justine Darmanian: 0:33
Justine Darmanian: 0:33
good. How are you?
Kristin Brandt: 0:34
I'm great. All right. So let's start by talking
Kristin Brandt: 0:37
about I mean, it's gonna sound dumb. What
Kristin Brandt: 0:40
are kids rides? But so,
Justine Darmanian: 0:42
PMC kids rides
Justine Darmanian: 0:42
are basically the next generation of the PMC
Kristin Brandt: 0:45
because we have kids so basically organized rides for Children. How old are the Children?
Justine Darmanian: 0:52
Children are typically 2 to 15 does depend on the actual right itself. But our average age is around six or seven.
Kristin Brandt: 0:59
Okay. And they're rides that happen in towns in Massachusetts, primarily he and throughout New England, right? And they're not all like when we talk about PMC, we're talking about PMC weekend, but PMC Kids Rides happen all year round
Justine Darmanian: 1:12
So our season is May, June and September, which is really great. So it's, you know, spreading the PMC calendar, even more in different ways for people to get involved in the PMC throughout the year.
Kristin Brandt: 1:24
So, um, somebody comes to you and they say I want to organize kids Ride. Right. Um what? How does that happen? What do we do?
Justine Darmanian: 1:34
So the biggest thing is that all of our kids, right coordinators are volunteers, which is really incredible that they take the time to work year round to plan a ride in their town. Uhm, if you know, someone's coming to me, you know, I prep them. You know, we have a nice phone call. I go over probably way too much information, you know, just
Justine Darmanian: 1:51
so they can really know. The ins and outs
Kristin Brandt: 1:54
So they really know if they want to do it, ifI haven't overwhelmed you. Then you ready?
Justine Darmanian: 1:58
But basically, you know, they need to
Justine Darmanian: 2:00
work with their town, their police, a site. They need to find a site. Um, and then I kind of help them in that process. You know, every town is a little bit different, so it definitely varies by town. Um, but, you know, I give them the tools and to set them up for success. And, you know, every conversation's a little bit different, depending on the town. But it's really great.
Bill Alfano: 2:21
What, um, when people do reach out to you, What what are some of the reasons they're doing that?
Justine Darmanian: 2:26
Sure, um, a lot of people are doing it because then themselves have been affected or someone in their town has been affected. I mean, so many rights have, unfortunately been started because a child in the town was going through treatment and what has been really great to see what the kid's right program is, that how much a town will rally behind a child that's going through treatment. We have, you know, rides that have teams of 100 or more kids that are riding in honor or in memory of kids in their town.
Kristin Brandt: 2:54
So let's like, maybe get some break down some facts. How many kids rides are there or were there, say, last year?
Justine Darmanian: 3:01
Yeah, in 2019 we had 25 kids rides
Kristin Brandt: 3:04
and how many kids participated
Justine Darmanian: 3:06
we had 4700 So
Kristin Brandt: 3:08
Justine Darmanian: 3:10
Kristin Brandt: 3:10
and what's the average distance?
Justine Darmanian: 3:13
Bill Alfano: 3:14
um, like a mile to a mile and 1/2. You know, a lot of our ride's arer held at schools or an office park, so you kind of just depends on where your ride's held to. Kind of
Justine Darmanian: 3:24
Kristin Brandt: 3:25
How many times you want to go around that parking lot
Justine Darmanian: 3:25
exactly in some rides. You know, you can go around
Justine Darmanian: 3:28
like the school around a parking lot. Some rides, actually go off site. There's different, you know, certainly more logistical things that come into play. But, you know, we've had some rides that have been 10 miles, which have been really cool.
Kristin Brandt: 3:41
I was gonna
Kristin Brandt: 3:42
say, I mean, I know as a parent, you know, the kid's rights are very, uh, I love the idea of getting the kids involved. Sometimes they're they're super short, you know, Mile. But you have a teenager. So I have always wondered, Do they have some longer rides a 10 mile or five mile or something?
Justine Darmanian: 3:58
Yeah. So, again, it definitely
Justine Darmanian: 3:59
varies depending on the ride ride. You know, coordinators really try to maximize You know how many kids that they can impact and, you know, trying to get all ranges. If you know, for some reason, a ride doesn't have a route that might fit, you know, with a teenager their always encouraged to help volunteer so they can still get involved one way or another.
Kristin Brandt: 4:18
How much, Um, so is it a fundraising with kids,
Kristin Brandt: 4:22
or is it just a flat fee? The kids pay a fee or do they like?
Justine Darmanian: 4:25
So it's both. So they pay a registration fee and the registration fee does very depending on the ride. Um, but the fundraiser there is a fund raiser commitment per child, so there's a registration fee as well per child. And then the fundraising commitment is $35 for the 2020 year per child. Um, and spring rides have until September to fundraise. Fall rides have until October to fundraise. We set riders up for success. What they get their own, um, profile page, much like a PMC profile page where they can put a photo they can
Kristin Brandt: 4:54
Justine Darmanian: 4:54
Yeah. So it's really I mean, the parents are the ones that are managing it. Yeah, they can. You
Justine Darmanian: 4:58
know, they work with the kids rules, man, but you know, the
Justine Darmanian: 5:02
kids can send it out online. A lot of kids will also do, you know, like lemonade stands, bake sales, and it's really fun to see those photos come in. And, like sometimes kids will show up with, like, all this change to ride and they're just, like, put it on the table and they're just so proud. So, you know, um, it's we're really trying to show kids, you know, like the value of giving back. And, you know, the writing's great, but the fundraising is why we're here. So, um, and it's really been amazing to see kids, you know, really Click and get that
Bill Alfano: 5:30
And Justine to want to talk about what the number was from 2019 raised and what you're looking for. 2020.
Justine Darmanian: 5:35
So, um, raised in 2019 we hit over a $1,000,000 which was the first ever for the kids right program, which was really exciting. Yeah
Kristin Brandt: 5:45
Holy mackerel. That is a lot of nickels man.
Justine Darmanian: 5:46
I know. I saw the numbers coming in
Justine Darmanian: 5:52
and I was like, Wait, there's no way that we're, like, close to a $1,000,000. And then we, like, surpassed a $1,000,000. So it's not like we just hit a $1,000,001. We surpassed it. So it's really, um, was a great accomplishment and milestone for the program. And, um and so this year, our goal is $1.3 million. So you know I have faith that we'll be able to do it. But, you know, it's, you know, we rely a lot on our volunteer coordinator's help. Spread the word, and of all of our riders and parents to continue to fundraise.
Kristin Brandt: 6:21
So for the volunteer
Kristin Brandt: 6:22
coordinators, have somebody questions
Justine Darmanian: 6:25
you want to do one?
Kristin Brandt: 6:26
Yeah. no, I believe me. I've thought about it like I was like, um, how many hours
Kristin Brandt: 6:33
do you think they have to, like, really contribute? Like to really pull off a ride because you just talked about You have to fire and safety. And yet, you know,
Justine Darmanian: 6:43
So it's honest. I don't know if I have
Justine Darmanian: 6:45
a true number because I
Justine Darmanian: 6:46
have some ride. Yeah, I have some rides
Justine Darmanian: 6:49
that probably spend maybe like, 50 hours a year. I have some rides that probably spend thousands, you know, like a really just depends. I mean, you know, a successful ride. It has someone that's working on a year round. That doesn't mean that it's every single day, but they're working on it. But, you know, they're being available they're being communicated, like communicating with riders, sponsors, volunteers. Um, you know, and a successful right does have a committee of people. That and I always suggest that, you know, setting up a committee. So find your friends, neighbors and, you know, and then they can expand to their network. So, one you're getting more people that are aware of the ride. But two your also having your support network. So you have a good succession of the ride. Um, and you can delegate delegate tasks. So
Kristin Brandt: 7:36
how many? Is there anything that you know, reflecting back on these rides that has surprised you about them?
Justine Darmanian: 7:43
Justine Darmanian: 7:44
nothing that, like the one like,
Justine Darmanian: 7:46
line corny line that I have with its right program is that
Kristin Brandt: 7:50
Justine Darmanian: 7:50
Oh, you know, it's a program. So
Justine Darmanian: 7:52
our rides are all very similar boat. It's great to see They're also very unique because of the different flair and the you know that the town and the coordinator brings So, you know, I've seen what has surprised me, though is like just to see, like, how much a town can really rally Like, you know, it's incredible to see, like hundreds of kids come out in support of one child, and for them to actually understand it. Not that I doubted that that was ever gonna happen, but it's just incredible to actually. See, like first hand?
Kristin Brandt: 8:22
Yeah. I mean, I know you
Kristin Brandt: 8:24
know, not to get on like a soapbox or anything, but it's easy, I think, for us to sometimes Oh, that generation or the next, you know, whatever. Like every every generation's annoying, every generation's annoying to the other generations. But like to see stuff like that to see them do incredible things, right? Makes you I don'tknow. It just fills me with hope.
Justine Darmanian: 8:45
Well, and I mean, we've also are now starting to see, you know, some of our kids rides that it started out when the program first began in 2005 that are now becoming active in the PMC And the goal of the kids ride program is again, the other the next generation. So whether that means, you know, they start off with the kids ride. Then they volunteer at the kids ride, and then they go to the 25 50 Sunday PMC ride and then do the big rider or volunteer at the big ride. We've started to see that which is really amazing and um, you know, we're still trying to get together Those stats to really, you know, put a number on that. But it's it's great to actually see it starting to happen.
Kristin Brandt: 9:22
And I mean, what you're ultimately doing two is you're getting more kids on bikes. You're getting more adults on bikes you're getting, you know, at a time when you know there's declines and so many other sports and other things like your basically helping build the industry or keep the industry going, you know, these impacts are far ranging and setting them up for a lifetime of fitness to I mean, you know, having kids understand the value of fitness, the value of their time, the value of giving back like there's so much that's kind of wrapped up into the idea of like putting some kids on bikes to raise money for
Kristin Brandt: 9:55
Justine Darmanian: 9:56
Bill Alfano: 9:56
What are you hearing back from
Bill Alfano: 9:57
like, especially first time or second year? Event coordinators. What are their biggest like takeaways or surprises, Or like things that they just love that they weren't maybe expecting out of there early kids rides.
Justine Darmanian: 10:10
I think they just
Justine Darmanian: 10:11
find, like a bigger place in the community I mean, so many people have been like I didn't know so and so when he actually he helped out the kids, right? And he's actually my neighbor and, you know, like they're certain to build relationships all surrounding, you know, because they want to make a difference in the fight against cancer. Um, and I think that they also a lot of them have kids themselves. So they're, liking the fact that they're able to do something with their kids and two firsthand, show them like, Hey, I'm doing this, and this is why you should be doing that
Kristin Brandt: 10:40
part of it. Or as you said, if you have a neighbor whose fighting cancer or a family member you know, I know that, like when we had my father in law was diagnosed with cancer, my daughter merely said, Well, you can never quit the
Kristin Brandt: 10:53
PMC like Okay, you
Bill Alfano: 10:56
You know, it's just something really nice when I see Kids Rides programs about. It's nice for those families to know they're not alone in their community, right? I mean, I know that's a message you push out all the time.
Justine Darmanian: 11:07
Yeah. No, it's, um it's, you know, they have the PMC community. I mean so many people find in so many different ways how the PMC community is there for them and that's first hand on an example of that being able to see it, it's full force.
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Bill Alfano: 11:40
So you made it really clear that it's volunteer coordinator that run the events.
Kristin Brandt: 11:44
volunteer coordinators (laughter)
Bill Alfano: 11:46
So you know, for for the audience that's listening, maybe would be helpful also is to talk about if you if you are potentially thinking about starting a ride in your town. Yes, you have to be a volunteer coordinator. But what resources do you as the PMC give them to support So they're not really just stranded on an island.
Justine Darmanian: 12:06
Yeah, so we set up each ride with its own ride page, where they can direct riders and parents and volunteers to register to make donations. We also provide each rider with a T shirt and a little goody bag. And that does change, you know, depending on our different sponsors for the year. Um, we also do provide, you know, tables, chairs, tents, cones. What we use PMC you name it we can use it at PMC Kids Ride. So, um you know, you should see our office and, you know, may June Kids Rides are coming in and out grabbing their supplies, grabbing their T shirts. Um, you know, we provide tools to help with day of registration check in everything like that. So and also I'm here,
Justine Darmanian: 12:49
so I'm your support as well
Kristin Brandt: 12:53
It is in your title volunteer kids, rides
Justine Darmanian: 12:58
and, you know, we do
Justine Darmanian: 12:59
a kickoff meeting, we do a wrap up, you know, evening And, um, you know, definitely kids, right? Coordinators are connected with each other, so it's a great opportunity for people to bounce ideas off of each other, which provide a lot of resources
Kristin Brandt: 13:12
and do you do anything
Kristin Brandt: 13:13
resource wise, uh, related to safety and training, Just kind of like because you're dealing with kids? families. And, you know, I know there's a lot of concerns with that.
Justine Darmanian: 13:24
I mean, first and foremost, you know, especially when a kid's ride a coordinator is planning their ride. You know, they need to get their route checked out by the police department, which is great, because, especially as a new coordinator, you might not know. You know what might be the best route. And, you know, odds are that event has happened in the same area that you're trying to hold. And so that's where the police in town or super helpful to try to determine what the best route is. The police will also let you know if they need to be on site. Most rides. Do you have a police officer on site? Every right does have a first aid area where we need, um, you know, a nurse EMT doctor on site. We do have her really funny. And I wish this is a video so I could show you
Justine Darmanian: 14:04
in by a really funny helmet Safety diagram the helmets on, like, all different ways so kids can have, You know, kids are
Justine Darmanian: 14:11
very visual, so it's a very easy way. Hey, this is the right way.
Kristin Brandt: 14:14
And parents like you get the helmet. It's like I
Kristin Brandt: 14:18
actually met, um, was mountain biking, and I met a dad and a daughter, and I was like, I'm I just had to
Kristin Brandt: 14:26
I walked up to her, and I just err
Bill Alfano: 14:29
I wish everyone
Bill Alfano: 14:29
could see you doing the air helmet right now.
Kristin Brandt: 14:31
They just fall because it slips back on your forehead
Justine Darmanian: 14:34
and you got a girl with a bun it's done.
Kristin Brandt: 14:37
And the dad was like, Thank thank you.
Kristin Brandt: 14:40
Random stranger in the woods.
Justine Darmanian: 14:41
No, it's I mean, you know it.
Justine Darmanian: 14:44
It's definitely something. I have seen my fair share of bad helmets,
Justine Darmanian: 14:46
but I've also
Justine Darmanian: 14:47
seen, you know, a lot of you know, this is a great opportunity to teach helmet safety. A lot of our rides actually do have, like, a helmet check area. Um, some have incorporated, you know, you get a little raffle ticket if you know you get your helmet checked by the police department, huh So that's another great ways to have the police involved.
Justine Darmanian: 15:04
And then we always make
Justine Darmanian: 15:04
sure that you know that there are volunteer out on the route. So whether that be there physically riding with the kids or that they're just stationed. So there's always that support to make sure that the ride is as safe as possible.
Bill Alfano: 15:18
I'd love to ask both of you this question. I know if it will make it into our podcast what do you guys see? Maur Oven. Is there a recommendation that you've heard between balance bike or training wheels.
Kristin Brandt: 15:29
How old is your daughter?
Bill Alfano: 15:30
3 and 1/2.
Justine Darmanian: 15:32
You probably have
Justine Darmanian: 15:33
more. But go
Justine Darmanian: 15:34
Kristin Brandt: 15:34
I was going to
Kristin Brandt: 15:35
say I mean, I think that the balance bike is genius. Yeah, we were. Our kids are teenagers, so we missed the balance bike. Um, I think they're just if you get the pedals out of the way and you can just let them find that center point. Now, this is where I tell you a story about how my husband used to work at Farmers Markets and he had a woman come up to him in a farmer market with a with a balanced bike. He's like, he's she goes, he's going too fast. I need you to put brakes on it.
Kristin Brandt: 16:03
And my husband was like and now it's time for pedals.
Bill Alfano: 0:00
That's right, that's right (laughter)
Kristin Brandt: 16:10
But yeah, that's my opinion. And I
Kristin Brandt: 16:11
Justine Darmanian: 16:12
I would say I've seen a lot of balance bikes. It actually. One of the coolest things cause I go to most of the rides, um, is to see the cool like helmet and bike trends.
Justine Darmanian: 16:21
Like past couple years, the thick tires have
Justine Darmanian: 16:24
been really in and for a while, like the helmets with the spikes or like the princess helmet like there that has been my favorite part is just to see the cool trends. Um, but I think actually, balanced bikes are very helpful. Um, I think you and I don't have kids, but I've heard that from numerous amounts.
Justine Darmanian: 16:41
Kristin Brandt: 16:42
I would say, Actually, my son and it's totally on a track now, but he tried a little. You try to bike, you know, had a lot of trouble with it, wouldn't write it. Which for someone whose father's bike mechanic is like heartbreaking. But then he got a scooter, and something about that just It's kind of the same. It shows him how the balance
Kristin Brandt: 17:01
work. And then when he went back to the bike, yeah,
Kristin Brandt: 17:04
when he went back to the bike, he figured out that pivot point. And then it was fine.
Bill Alfano: 17:09
That was a little selfish question, but I thought was good for
Bill Alfano: 17:11
Kristin Brandt: 17:12
It's really good.
Justine Darmanian: 17:13
And let it be known that
Justine Darmanian: 17:14
Bill's daughter has ah, signed up for a kid's right in the last year. Um, it rained so shouldn't get quite on her bike,
Bill Alfano: 0:00
She had a balance bike, she was going with a balance bike
Justine Darmanian: 17:23
and she fundraise you did a
Justine Darmanian: 17:24
great job fundraising so
Kristin Brandt: 17:26
yeah. No, I think, um, no, I think it's great. I love seeing all these kids on bikes. I love that you're getting helmets on them. I love that they're learning the basics of bike safety. Um, live that you're getting the community involved. Just love, love, love. All. So
Kristin Brandt: 17:41
on the safety thing, our their background checks,
Kristin Brandt: 17:43
like, do you do anything with, like, CORIs and SORIs and and, you know, for the volunteers To, make sure they're
Justine Darmanian: 17:50
Justine Darmanian: 17:50
For all of our coordinators who have access to back and tools. Yeah. So that means, you know, they can send an email, you know, they're all CORI / SORI, and then we have another agreement. So we've we've gone through, um, a bunch of different steps to make sure, you know, safety in all forms.
Kristin Brandt: 18:06
Kristin Brandt: 18:06
figured you'd have the right
Kristin Brandt: 18:07
way check. Well, that's
Kristin Brandt: 18:11
great. So you said the ride's start
Justine Darmanian: 18:13
um, the first ride is
Justine Darmanian: 18:15
the first weekend in May this year. Um, and so they go May June, and then we take a break shift, to PMC
Justine Darmanian: 18:21
Then we shift back
Bill Alfano: 18:22
in September. We have a few rides
Kristin Brandt: 18:24
And where do people find out The where the where the current rides are, How to volunteer
Bill Alfano: 18:29
Yeah, Where do they find it out?
Kristin Brandt: 18:30
Where did they find PMC
Justine Darmanian: 18:31
KIDS dot PMC dot org dot - K I D S period P M C period O R G
Bill Alfano: 18:36
Um so I'm assuming I know this, but I'm assuming like PMC like winter cycle sponsors play a big role. Who are your big sponsors?
Justine Darmanian: 18:45
Yes, they definitely do are presenting sponsor is the Yawkey Foundations. They have been a sponsor for a number of years and they have been really key in helping us
Justine Darmanian: 18:54
able to put on our program every year.
Kristin Brandt: 18:57
Well, thank you again, Justine, for coming in for show notes and links from this episode, you can go to P M C dot Or, if you like our show, please help spread the word. Tell three friends leave a review for us on iTunes. And, uh, thanks for listening.
Bill Alfano: 0:00
(laughter) Have a good day