‘Mr. B’s Joybox Express’ Rallies Supporters for Musical Bike Ride from Flint to Mackinac Island
Yearlong ‘Sprint 4 Flint’ Fundraising Campaign to Benefit YouthQuest Afterschool Program
(FLINT, Mich. – Aug. 15, 2016) An Ann Arbor-based nonprofit is launching a yearlong fundraising campaign that will benefit the YouthQuest After School Initiative and culminate with an especially unique journey – one that involves transporting a 385-pound piano on a tricycle built for three from Flint to Mackinac Island.
The “Sprint 4 Flint: Ride, Swim, Play…Give” project is the latest from Mr. B’s Joybox Express, which raises awareness for charitable organizations by taking its custom-made piano bike on the road – powered by a trio of cycling musicians. The new project will benefit art programming provided through YouthQuest, an afterschool and summer program that serves more than 2,000 students in Flint and Genesee County each year.
“We are tremendously excited to benefit a program that has such a positive impact on youth in my hometown of Flint,” said Mark Braun, Founder and President of Mr. B’s Joybox Express. “Our goal is to support organizations that enhance children’s lives through arts and athletics – something that YouthQuest does on a regular basis. We look forward to bringing more awareness to YouthQuest, and plan to have plenty of fun while doing it.”
The “Sprint 4 Flint” ride will kick off August 24, 2017, when Braun and his team will depart Flint with the goal of reaching Mackinaw City within 24 hours. They will be accompanied by guest cyclists who will join them for either portions of, or for the entire ride. Braun, an internationally renowned blues and jazz musician, will play piano spontaneously along the way.
After reaching Mackinaw City, event organizers will transport the piano bike to St. Ignace, where it will be loaded onto a small barge. Soon after, Jim Dreyer, a Grand Rapids-based, world-record holding swimmer, will join Mr. B’s Express to help swim/tow the instrument to Mackinac Island.
“We are grateful to be included in Mr. B’s newest project,” said Rhetta Hunyady, Vice President of Education & Training at the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, which administers the YouthQuest afterschool program. “The arts play a key role in fostering creativity and critical thinking, and physical fitness is an important aspect of achieving lifelong wellness. What better way to inspire our youth than by showing them what’s possible when you combine the two.”
According to Hunyady, the funding will help support YouthQuest’s art programming – a core part of the program’s curriculum – as well as ArtQuest 2018. The annual art exhibition, held each spring, will feature more than 2,000 pieces of student-created artwork revolving around the theme of physical fitness.
Over the next year, Braun’s team will focus on spreading awareness about “Sprint 4 Flint” and the YouthQuest program. Cyclists and/or swimmers who are interested in participating can register for the event at www.JoyboxExpress.com and are encouraged to distribute pledge forms to friends and family
Flint & Genesee Chamber
Flint & Genesee Chamber
Mr. B’s Joybox Express
YouthQuest is a high-quality, research-based afterschool program offering educational and enrichment activities that engage young minds. Available at 15 sites in the city of Flint and Genesee County, YouthQuest serves nearly 2,000 students in grades K-12. The program is administered by the Genesee Area Focus Fund, a supporting organization of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, with support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and 21st Century Community Learning Centers. For more information, visit www.yquest.org.
About the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce
Serving the community for over 100 years, the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce is a premier business membership organization unlike most chambers of commerce. In addition to traditional member services, our responsibility includes serving as the lead economic development agency for Flint & Genesee, marketing tourism, youth and business training, and a Shared Services Center.
Collaboration is one of our core strengths. To affect real and lasting change, inclusiveness and collaboration are keys to success. We form partnerships with private businesses, education and governmental agencies at the local, state and federal levels, as well as grant-making foundations to fuel economic growth and bring positive change to the region. For more information, visit www.flintandgenesee.org. Check us out on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Mr. B’s Joybox Express
Founded by professional musician and amateur athlete Mark Braun, Mr. B’s Joybox Express is a 501(c)(3) that raises money for charitable organizations enhancing the quality of children's lives through the arts and athletics. The Joybox Express is a 385-pound piano, connected to a human-powered trike. In 2014, Braun and his team completed a 1,840-mile, 75-day trip along the entire length of the Mississippi River – inspiring thousands through concerts, school programs and local fundraising efforts from Lake Itasca, Minn. to New Orleans, La.