Local business man Joseph Jenkins (better known to most as Mojo), isn't like your average every day sort of guy. In addition to owning Huron's Knucklehead Saloon and Gus's Cafe and Pizzeria, he is the founder and director of the B.A.A.N.C foundation.
Biker organization aims to help end childhood neglect and abuse
May 28, 2014
The Bikers Against Abused and Neglected Children Foundation is an non-profit organization dedicated to helping stop the abuse of children in the Lake Erie region, as well as to enrich the lives of those who have been victim to neglect.
B.A.A.N.C. was inspired from a small act. On a camping trip out west, Mojo and his wife Pam witnessed a little girl disheartened by her parents inability to purchase her a bicycle. Selflessly, they decided to gift the girl the bike she so desperately wanted. Once home, they sat down and really began to think about how they could positively effect children in need. Thus, B.A.A.N.C. was born.
"We wanted to keep it biker related," said Mojo, who professed that he had been riding since 'dirt was on Earth' with a little chuckle. "We wanted to help the less fortunate, and that led us to notice the rise of abused and neglected in the area. 99% of us are bikers."
So how does B.A.A.N.C work?
"When someone comes to us with allegations of abuse of neglect, we sit down as a committee. We have a board of directors put together. No one person makes the choice whether we investigate or not."
Once a decision has been made, B.A.A.N.C. will check into the welfare of the alleged victim, talk to witnesses, collect evidence, and more. "We can investigate all we want, as long as we don't take authority into our own hands," said Mojo. "We turn all our information over to child services and the police. They make the final judgment."
Erie County Child Services have been very cooperative with the B.A.A.N.C. foundation. Following up on their initial investigations, and taking action when needed.
"We hate anyone who neglects of abuses a child. That's the lowest form of life out there. I was brought up to not hate, but in these cases, you can't help it."
In addition to taking steps to stop and prevent abuse and neglect, B.A.A.N.C. also organizes charity events to help provide for children in need with clothing, school supplies, and Christmas gifts.
In extreme cases, B.A.A.N.C. assists the families of those who have lost children in tragic circumstances, such as in the case of Heather, Celina, and Wayne Jackson, a charity poker was organized to help pay for funeral costs.
"There's no preparation that can help you handle seeing such a small coffin, and know what's in it. We see families that live in pain every day from losing children. It effects them in terrible ways."
Another such case was that of Owen Barker. Just as with Heather, Celina, and Wayne, B.A.A.N.C. organized an event to help raise funds for Owen's funeral, which Mojo recalls as, "The worst funeral I ever went to."
In addition to helping pay for memorial costs, B.A.A.N.C. has set up the Owen Barker Memorial Scholarship.
On June 1st, the Blessing of the Bikes and Owen Barker Memorial Scholarship Poker Run will take place. Money raised at this event will be put into the Owen Barker Memorial Scholarship. To register for this event, visit Knucklehead Saloon in Huron, Ohio. For just $20 and $5 for an additional rider (or $15 and $5 if you pre-register before June 1st), you can participated in the poker run, and help make a difference in a child's life.
Non-bikers are also encouraged to come out on June 1st to help raise funds and awareness. Along with the poker run on, Knucklehead Saloon will host live entertainment with Whey Jennings and the Unwanted, Know Lyfe, and Extravested Blood. There will be raffles, 50/50, food, and many merchandise vendors. Among those vendors are, Origami Owl, Scenty, Grandma's Ice Cream, Miche purses, Beadwork by Mar, Dancing Bird Flutes, and tons of Bike Week aparal.
For more information on the Owen Barker Memorial Run and Blessing of the Bikes, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/...
As humble as they come, Mojo insisted that B.A.A.N.C. wouldn't be who they are today without all the helped they've received along the way.
"If it weren't for the public, we wouldn't be anyone. I have have to thank every member of B.A.A.N.C. because we couldn't do a fraction of what we do without them. Thanks are due to Brian Smith, our lawyer, as well, for all the legal work and getting the 501c organized. And my wife Pam. She's played a bigger part in this than any other one person."
Some find it hard to have faith in today's society. "I was a victim of child abuse myself," Mojo said, with the ghost of his past glistening in his eyes. "I want other victims to know that not everybody in the world is like the person who hurt them. There are still good people out there, and you have to be able to heal. You have to have faith in mankind. I want to help restore their faith in mankind."
With people like Mojo Jenkins, and the Bikers Against Abused and Neglected Children Foundation, it's hard to not gain a little bit of hope for mankind.