Charlie Long loves bikes. He also loves cars, tractors, antiques and old records.

When you first meet him, he may seem shy and quiet, but all of that changes when you ask him about one of his interests. His eyes light up as he describes each part of a bike and talks specifics on year, make and model.

Charlie lives in an ADEC group home and attends ADEC’s Goshen Day Service. During vocational time two years ago, Charlie could normally be found with a book, researching his latest car find or studying up on local antiques.

Ashley Martin, ADEC art coordinator, would ask Charlie if he’d like to do art and he said no, time after time. Ashley knew she needed to try a new approach. She made a deal with Charlie.

“If you get on the pottery wheel once and make a bowl, we can figure out a way to make a car,” Ashley offered.

“We can do that?” Charlie said.

It turned out really well. Charlie kept asking Ashley, “What else can we make?”

They tackled a bike next, using the same idea.

“I still have it,” Charlie says with a smile. “My mother put it in the kitchen.”

He sold his first piece of artwork last summer – a tractor collage on canvas. He still remembers how excited he was to get that first check from a job well done.

“He kept asking what else he could make because he realized he could make stuff that had to do with his interests,” Ashley shares.

The Monday following Ride-A-Bike 2015, Charlie came in and asked Ashley if he could do a bike painting. Not thinking much of it, Ashley made a very basic outline for Charlie to paint.

Later in the day, Ashley stopped to look at what Charlie made. He had taken a marker to add in all the details for the bike. He had wheels, brakes, a horn box, springs for the seats, mud stops and more. He then went back and used watercolors to get bold color all over the bike.

“And that’s how he got started drawing bikes,” Ashley smiles.

Charlie’s bike was so unique, we decided to make it a part of Ride-A-Bike 2016. In this video, you can see the shirts we had printed with Charlie’s bike design. They are flying off the shelves, so hurry up and visit our Goshen Day Service (114 E. Lincoln, Goshen, IN 46528) to get your shirt today!

Photo and Video by Rod Tackett | Communications Specialist

Article by Whitney Craig | Communications Specialist