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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Youth Community Service Clubs, Youth Development Programs

Mission: Community bike works teaches life lessons through bike mechanics. We offer inner-city youth meaningful work-ethic alternatives. We use bicycles and peer and adult mentors to engage youth, and once engaged, influence their behavior and outlook about school and life.

Programs: Earn-a-bike program: in our flagship earn-a-bike program, boys and girls ages 9-17 team up with adult mentors for a 12-week course in bike mechanics and safety. While working on their bikes, students learn teamwork, perseverance, and other work skills. Once students graduate earn-a-bike, they earn their refurbished bike and new helmet! This year, we also introduced the junior earn-a-bike program to introduce younger students to working with mentors. In total, 362 students participated in earn-a-bike and junior earn-a-bike during 2014-2015; 78% graduated. 2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the earn-a-bike program! Since 1995, 3,500 youths have participated in earn-a-bike.

peer volunteers & youth apprentices: students who graduate from earn-a-bike may continue to improve their mechanic skills while giving back to their peers by becoming youth volunteers, and, ultimately, paid youth apprentices. Volunteers and apprentices serve as earn-a-bike instructors and participate in leadership activities. Thirteen students were youth volunteers in 2014-2015, and two served as paid apprentices. In the words of youth apprentice kyle: "community bike works is more than learning how bikes work. It's learning how life works. "

afterschool drop-in and earn a book: earn-a-bike students and graduates can visit community bike works on weekday afternoons to participate in a range of enrichment activities. At drop-in, students work on bikes or participate in directed activities. In "earn a book", students spend one-on-one time with college tutors and participate in group and individual reading and other activities designed to foster enthusiasm for and increased competence in reading. In 2014-2015, students visited community bike works 5,550 times and spent approximately 11,000 hours with mentors.

Community Stories

6 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Based on the recommendation of a colleague, I began volunteering with Community Bike Works (CBW) in 2008. At first, I was hesitant, because I do not know the first thing about Bike Mechanics, but, I happen to know quite a bit about inner-city children from my own personal experiences. Being a novice, I was paired with another volunteer who was fluent on the mechanics side of it, and it was shortly into my first session that I realized that bike mechanics, though a great skill to learn, are primarily a vehicle to get the kids in the door, be mentored and guided to make better life choices. I cannot tell you how much working with and getting to know the students in each one of the sessions has meant to me - growing up, I did not see many people that looked like me being successful in legitimate careers, and neither do a lot of these students. As I spoke to them, and they realized how much I had in common with them, I could see them opening up, and listening more, and thinking more. That is the greatest gift I can give, and CBW gave me the opportunity to do that. Stefan and the staff are organized, knowledgeable, and most importantly, passionate about and committed to the organization’s mission, and it comes across in every aspect of the programs. Though my current role, and its accompanying travel schedule do not allow me to participate as an Earn-A-Bike volunteer, I am still committed to the organization by participating as a Transition Committee member to assist in finding an Associate Director, to train under and one day replace, Stefan. As long as I am in the LV, I will look for a way to support this organization. Very few organizations have a mission that is so clearly executed through the programs and impact on the community. Kudos to CBW!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I started my volunteer service 2 years ago and have participated in every session since. The program works and you can see the positive changes in the kids from the first day they come in (quiet / unsure ) to the last day when they graduate and recieve their bikes ( exicted / expresssive / and proud) .

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering two years ago by doing unicycle demonstrations. Since then I've started to help teach an Earn A Bike class. This month I've been approved to be a mentor. There are so many aspects to this program that it would be hard to list them all. The reading program, the student aprentices, and the outreach program that takes the Earn A Bike class directly to the schools. All of these programs give a child a chance to relate work to reward in a fun atmosphere. I may retire some day from my regular job but I don't think I'll ever retire from CBW.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Having worked in the field of recreation for over 20 years, this program is by far the best program that I have ever been involved with. It offers so many postive benefits to our youth. It provides a safe environment for the youth to "escape" to while learning bicycle mechanic skills that would likely not be available to these children elsewhere. Both the employees and volunteers provide invaluable resourses to the youth. They provide postive mentoring as well as extensive knowledge about bicycle repair needs. Observing the children imporve their knoweldge as well as their self esteem and confidance is not matched in any other program that I have been involved with ever. Thank you Bike Works for providing this program to all children free of charge.... this truely is a "PRICELESS" opportunity in many ways.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Community Bike Works is a great asset to the Allentown community! I have been volunteering for the past four years and I always enjoy interacting with the staff, volunteers, and the youth they serve. I have seen students start the Earn a Bike class with an attitude and walk away with new found confidence and skills. CBW is successful in fostering a safe place for its students and provides several different programs to help them achieve success in life and school.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I began volunteering with Community Bike Works in the Winter of 2008. At first, I was nervous, not particularly being a bike enthusiast, nor knowing anything anout bike mechanics, other than what was written in the Instructor's Manual given to me before I started. That concern quickly dissipated as I began working with the children, and I realized that the bike mechanics were a tool to a greater ends, not the end of themselves. I got to know a group of wonderful children, who were eager to learn, and were at a critical point in their development. Being a younger volunteer, as well as an ethinic minority myself, I felt the children really wanted to learn more about me - why would someone like me want to take the time to do this? Though I enjoyed the instructional part, the mentoring aspect of this program is what has really affected me, and what has really affected the children involved. Many of these children live in my neighborhood, and I still get the opportunity to interact with them, telling me about their days at school, and truly bouncing ideas about dealing with their life situation.

Review from Guidestar