Along the way, he met Truett Cathy, founder and chairman of Chick-fil-A, who told Anderson he looked like an elephant on a bicycle. Cathy became the foundation's first contributor, and a life-long friend.
A half-century later, Anderson's program is still working. He not only built alternative homes for otherwise incarcerated young men, but that very first home in Vidalia, Ga., continues to shape and launch young men back into society with 90 percent of graduates never seeing the inside of a jail cell again.
The six young men -- Chad, Dustin, Mac, Nathaniel, Reef and Sam -- began their journey on July 12 and expect to reach Omaha on July 29.
Finishing the cross-country journey is just one of their goals. They hope to make parents more aware of the struggles they face every day through a campaign called FamilyStrong, which challenges parents to "make parent a verb."
"This ride will be a test of strength and yet, a true honor. The young men who participate in this feat will never forget the moment that they reach Omaha," said Drew Read, chief operating officer of Paul Anderson Ministries. "As they follow the path of a man who has changed their lives forever and the lives of thousands of others, they will learn perseverance, discipline, teamwork and endurance."
Through the research compiled at Paul Anderson Ministries, the PAYH staff is able to follow the dangerous trends on the horizon for today's youth and young adults. The website http://www.familystrong.com cites frightening statistics: Children spend an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes using some form of media daily; 90,000 juveniles are arrested each day; 50 percent of all sexually active youth will have an STD by the age of 25. These trends, including drug use and addiction, pornography, rage, violence, sex and relationships, have created a generation that is crying out for parents who know the importance of making parent a verb.
For more information on Paul Anderson Ministries or the Paul Anderson Youth Home, go to http://www.payh.org.