No better story reflects the positive impact made on Southern Nevada children by the annual “PK Bike Day” than that of Jerome Goings, a former Durango High basketball player and honor student. PK Bike Day is organized by the Patrick Kelley Foundation and held at the legendary Piero’s Italian Cuisine restaurant.
With assistance from the foundation and board members, Goings was able to attend Oberlin College in Ohio, a high-level Division III academic institution. Goings, who also played basketball at Oberlin, was the first recipient of the Patrick Kelley Youth Scholarship in 2006 and graduated with a double major in Sociology and Law & Society, with a minor in Politics. He was a first-generation college graduate.
Because not only of the financial assistance of the four-year, $20,000 PKYF scholarship, but also because of board member mentorship and inspiration throughout the college process, Goings was able to accomplish his goals. The board assisted Goings during the college selection process, provided support while he attended and still keep in touch with him to this very day.
“It was a big deal for me, the whole process,” says Goings, who now runs his own business and is married and a new father (he and his wife, Rita, welcomed their son, Oliver, last year). “The money was huge, but they also helped me with the complicated college process and sat me down and provided perspective on what the purpose and intent of the college experience was about. They made me realize that it was more than going to class. It made me understand that it was a time to become an adult, experience new things and mature as a person. Without that perspective, I am not sure I would have had as good an experience as I did. I still use the lessons I learned from them today in my own business and life.”
The 16th annual PK Bike Day is March 31 at Piero’s, and the event is near and dear to the employees and owners. Piero’s is owned by the Glusman family, and Evan Glusman was best friends with Patrick Kelley, who tragically died in a motorcycle accident in 2002. The Patrick Kelley Youth Foundation mission is to positively impact the lives of others by increasing social engagement in Las Vegas, providing opportunity and access to disadvantaged youth and their families, and promoting educational and life goals. Since its inception, the foundation has awarded $250,000 in scholarships and 2050 bikes to deserving children and young adults.
“He was like a big brother to me and more than a friend,” Glusman says about Patrick, who was eight years his elder. “PK Bike Day and the foundation are ways to honor him and keep him alive in our hearts and spirit. He had a passion to help kids and he continues to inspire us each and every day. We are making a difference because of him.”
PK Bike Day, which began as a casual gathering of friends in 2003 when only 15 bikes were given away, now features a carnival for the kids (from low income and underserved environments), a Piero’s catered barbecue and welcomes the families of the children. Each youngster—about 200 annually—receive a new bike, helmet and educational books in addition to the meal and fun. Board members and volunteers also attend and more are always welcome.
For complete information about PK Bike Day and to donate or attend to help, visit pkyf.org.
An annual foundation highlight is the awarding of the scholarships. Currently, six recipients are in college or graduate school and 10 previous recipients are college graduates.
“Local love is super important to us at Piero’s and it is heartwarming to see the community step up and help these children through PK Bike Day and the foundation,” says Theresa Mayorga, Piero’s events manager and a foundation board member. “It’s my favorite day of the year for so many reasons, but mainly because of the looks on the faces of the kids. It truly makes a difference in their lives and it is an honor to be a part of it. It also shows the kids that someone is looking out for them and noticing their hard work in school pays off. It’s very important for these kids to be recognized.”
The impact of PK Bike Day is far more lasting than a few hours on a Sunday each year. Not only did Goings receive the scholarship and other help from board members, but following his sophomore year in college, he served an internship at the business of Mike Kelley (Patrick’s father). Goings learned and observed in a professional environment from Kelley and other board members H. Waldman and Bob Schiffman.
“That was new to me to be in a professional work environment like that and I had this stereotype about what business people were like,” Goings remembers. “But I learned that they were just regular people working together to do good work. I also began to understand that running a business is a way to help the community and create jobs for others and give back.”
The entire Piero’s family gets involved with PK Bike Day and it is looked forward to throughout the year.
“It is one of the best days in these children’s lives and to say we all play a small part in making the difference in someone’s life is priceless,” says Phillippe “Frenchie” Bouhourdin, managing captain at Piero’s.
Ask Jerome Goings and he would agree that the help and mentorship he received from the Patrick Kelley Foundation was—and is—priceless.
He carries with him the values of family and helping others instilled in him by board members and the foundation. Goings was an active member of the Oberlin community and performed weekly community service hours volunteering at various youth programs and upon graduating, he continued his passion of working with at-risk youth at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and then in nonprofits in Columbus, Ohio. He still maintains the giving spirit today through his own business.
“Once people come out and volunteer during PK Bike Day, they will return because they see and feel how impactful it is because the kids are so appreciative and happy,” Glusman says. “It’s kind of like Piero’s in that way: once we get you in the door, you’re coming back.”