16th Annual Paul Anderson Youth Home Bike Ride Held In Paul Anderson’s Hometown Of Toccoa
Paul Anderson Youth Home, a fully accredited and licensed home offering a second chance to young men in crisis, began its 60th-anniversary celebration this year with its 16th Annual Bike Ride. Over the course of five days, five residents of the home traveled a total of more than 300 miles by bicycle on routes through and around Paul Anderson’s hometown of Toccoa, Georgia, 90 miles northeast of Atlanta.
The event is part fundraiser, and donations to sponsor riders can still be made at payhbikeride.com. These young men rode in the rural northeast of the state, passing into South Carolina, and traveling around Tallulah Gorge State Park, the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, and small Georgia towns Wiley, Lula and Lakemont.
The event also recalled and commemorated a foundational moment in the history of Paul Anderson Youth Home. At its founding in 1961, the former Olympic gold-medal winner Anderson hopped on a bicycle and rode from Vidalia, Georgia, 1,200 miles to Omaha, Nebraska. He did this for the same reasons the five boys did it this year, to raise funds and raise awareness of the mission to give troubled young men a second chance through Christ. Now 60 years later, the Paul Anderson Youth Home celebrates more than 1,400 lives changed through a process of recovery, restoration, and redemption.
'It is only fitting that we held this year's ride in Paul’s hometown of Toccoa, Ga., as we continue to commemorate that original ride,' said Glenda Anderson, co-founder of PAYH. 'Our prayer is that this is a transformative experience for each of the five young men. This ride is their chance to demonstrate how far they’ve come physically, mentally, and spiritually – and to prove to themselves that with hard work, they can do anything.'
Since the riders are students of PAYH, each young man’s struggle to overcome emotional problems, bad decisions, and spiritual challenges is symbolized in the physical fortitude to travel such distances. Anderson, a world-class athlete, stressed physical fitness as one component of honoring God. The endurance needed to achieve these distances, in turn, honors his lessons of how exercising the body is as important as exercising the mind, filling it with positivity and prayer.