Pan Am Place hosting second-annual Iron Ride to raise $100,000 for new women’s facility


By Lily Medynska


Aaron Black, the manager at Pan Am Place, during a shift. The facility has staff on-hand 24/7./LILY MEDYNSKA


Pan Am Place, a transitional housing centre for at-risk young men, announced in September it is moving forward with the development of a second centre: a home for at-risk young women, single mothers and children.


Last year, the charity hosted its first Iron Ride – a 100-km. outdoor race that lasted 24 hours and saw roughly 15 people from the Pan Am boxing community participate.


This year, the stationary bike marathon will take place inside Pan Am Boxing Club. Teams of up to six people will take turns on the bikes in hopes of accumulating the most kilometres in the allotted amount of time.


“Last year’s Iron Ride was tough, but a really great event to bring people together,” said Zac Easton, who works at Pan Am Place and competed in last year’s race.


Vinnie Lillie, a resident at Pan Am Place, enjoys a solo game of pool. Residents are required to complete a total of seven hours of gym time and household work while they stay at the centre./LILY MEDYNSKA


The duration of the ride is split between team members. Most take turns riding for approximately four-hour shifts.


“Most people, myself included, didn’t sleep for the entire 24 hours, so there was a lot of time to talk and get to know everyone participating,” said Easton.


Easton said he’s excited to see the event come back for a second year.


“I loved the event. It’s just an amazing way to get the word out about [Pan Am Place] and raise money. It aligns with what we teach our guys, and what we will soon teach women and children: work hard, stay focused and you can do anything – including a 24-hour spin class,” he said.


Organizers said there is an increasing need in the community for more women-only shelters.


“Over the years at PAP, residents have been referred from various counsellors, probation officers, youth employment services and more, all of which have voiced the lack of women’s shelters in the city,” said Aaron Black, who manages Pan Am Place.


Right now, Pan Am Place only provides housing to young, at-risk men, and requires they complete volunteer hours and participate in weekly workouts at the Pan Am Boxing Club.


Pan Am Boxing is located next door to Pan Am Place on Arthur Street and allows residents easy access for their required workouts./LILY MEDYNSKA


Black said the goal of the second facility is to provide women with the kinds of services men already get at Pan Am Place while also keeping in mind many of these women may have children with them.


“We are planning to ensure it is also a healthy environment for the children they may bring,” said Black. “We want to continue the valuable work we are doing, and reach out to women and children with the hopes we can provide these families with the support and guidance they need in order to live healthy, independent lives outside our doors.”


This year’s Iron Ride is happening Nov. 3-4 inside Pan Am Boxing at 245 McDermot Ave.