On Cross-Country Fundraiser, Smith Swings by Smarts
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Even though Doug Smith celebrated his birthday on July 21, he had his cake at the Students Motivated by the Arts school downtown Aug. 3, nearly two months after he hit the road on his bike in Astoria, Oregon.
Smith left from the Pacific Coast on June 7 with the goal of raising $35,000 for the art school by riding across the country and arriving Aug. 11 in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
“We’re at 10% of our goal which is funny because Doug is at 85% of his journey,” said Becky Keck, executive director of Students Motivated by the Arts, or Smarts. “We know we can still get there with enough public support.”
Smarts offers free art education for pre-K through grade 12, with classes in music, dance, theater and creative writing.
“I appreciate what Smarts accomplishes with music and arts education during early development,” Smith said. “When I sold drums, I was doing a lot of promotions through Smarts with Becky.”
Originally from Kent, Smith is a musician and former owner of The Drum Smith in Hubbard, where he worked with percussion industry companies Zildjian and Pearl.
Smith said his wife, Jena, bought him a bike for his birthday nine years ago and “one thing led to another.
“I always wanted to ride longer distances,” he said. “Of course the ultimate ride would be coast to coast. I had to do this while I still could.”
While riding in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Smith and his wife, who had joined him for part of the journey, had an accident.
“She saw a moose, we swerved and crashed into each other,” said Smith. “We had to recuperate a couple days from the accident in Kellogg, Idaho. There wasn’t much to do.”
Keck said that those interested can follow Smith’s journey on the school’s website and clicking Going the Distance. The page features blog posts from Doug and a map of where he has been so far.
While giving out cards with information about the school to those along the way, Smith said people want to hear about what he’s doing and have been very friendly.
“Many people who don’t contribute to Smarts directly still have contributed by offering their services,” he said. “People in a convenience store gave me a free cup of coffee, and one night I was even given a free hotel room. It’s gratifying to see the response from total strangers across the country.”
Pictured: Doug Smith, who is riding his bike cross-country as a fundraiser for Smarts, stopped by the school Friday.
Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.