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.
Our community is lucky to have Community Bike Works. They collaborate well with schools and other NGOs and are committed to leveraging the assets in Allentown. I love the fact that they have various positions that allow youth to take on different roles within the organization of increasing responsibility. I believe this promotes their work-ethic focus extremely well.