UniSource is providing financial and volunteer support for the Oct. 15 event, which is expected to draw about 500 cyclists who will travel on five different routes throughout Santa Cruz County.
While UniSource has long donated to the classic, now in its tenth year, this is the first time that employee volunteers from our Nogales office’s Community Action Team will participate, said Norma Lucero, the team’s leader.
The bicycle classic serves as the main fundraiser for Circles of Peace, a restorative justice organization. The group addresses the needs of families affected by domestic violence – both victims and the offenders – with youth prevention programs, outpatient treatment, pretrial services, and a women’s support group. Other programs support offenders after incarceration.
UniSource’s contribution is part of our philanthropic focus on community assistance. The event coincides with Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“We support the Circles of Peace because the program offers well-rounded services for families or individuals affected by domestic violence. When we strengthen families, we strengthen our community,” Lucero said.
Much of the organization’s funding comes from public grants and foundations that designate funds for specific purposes. The event’s proceeds go toward emergency support, such as bills, rent and food for clients. “It gives us the flexibility to meet the immediate needs of our members,” said Eva Zuniga, Youth and Family Programs Manager for Circles of Peace.
Zuniga says the event is believed to be the largest border-area cycling fiesta and is now considered a state championship event.
The event begins in downtown Nogales about a half mile from the U.S.-Mexico border. The five routes range from 11 miles to 84.9 miles, which stretch as far as Sonoita.
UniSource volunteers in company T-shirts will be stationed at a key turn in the route, where they will guide cyclists with flags.
“Having UniSource volunteers at the event is huge and it speaks volumes to the community,” Zuniga said. “It tells the people we serve that a big organization helps them, cares about them and are interested in their betterment.”