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.