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.
Professional with expertise in this field
I began working at Community Bike Works in 2007, and have had the privilege of serving here for over five years this April. I am continually amazed at the way the mission is 'lived out' through the vairous multi-faceted programs that CBW offers. I truly feel that CBW continues to grow and thrive because of the strong foundation Stefan (Exec Director and Founder) has laid through the structured, smooth functioning Earn-A-Bike curriculum he has provided, and the constant openness and drive he exudes to improve current programs as well as add new ones. In the past five years, I have had the opportunity to watch CBW's drive for success manufacture itself in many measureable ways: 1. an increase in clients served annually from approximately 160 students in the 2007-8 fiscal year, to approximately 250 in the 2011-12 fiscal year 2. an impressive facility rennovation project that has increased efficiency as well as effectiveness in serving our clients 3. an increase in the number of staff members from one full-time and one part-time staff member, to three full-time and two part-time staff members (this is not including the paid student apprentices who have the opportunity to work here after completing the course and voluteering) 4. an increase from one offsite class per session (fall and spring), to five offsite classes per session (fall and spring) 5. the addition of a financial literacy program 6. a partnership with KidsPeace so that campus restricted clients of KidsPeace can enjoy the benefits of our program. Beyond these measurable results, I have also had the joy of experiencing first hand the value, guidance and meaning that CBW has added to the lives of many, many students. CBW is far more than an organization, and much more than a 'j-o-b'.