PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania – For many children, a bicycle is a symbol of freedom. A bike shop in West Philadelphia not only gives kids the freedom that a bike provides, but also gives them the chance to learn something new.
“Neighborhood Bike Works” on Lancaster Avenue isn’t your typical urban bike shop. It’s a non-profit organization that gives children the opportunity to learn how bikes work and how to fix them through a program called “Win a Bike”.
The program is designed to give children and teens a positive activity where they can work to earn their own bike. “Win a Bike” inspires kids to keep learning, while keeping them off the streets.
Jessica West of Neighborhood Bike Works said, “We give kids an outlet, both physical and emotional, to have a safe space where they have mentors who become important parts of their lives.”
Kiyoshi Howard, an employee of Neighborhood Bike Works, started the program when he was a teenager. Howard has used the skills he learned through “Win a Bike” to continue through other programs offered at the store.
“I was able to learn all my skills and went through the rest of the programs, from earning a bike, to building a bike, to building a winter bike, to the summit of youth cycling,” he said. he declares.
The store’s goal now is to enroll children in several programs, such as Kiyoshi.
“We’re trying to create a pipeline,” West said. “The more we engage these young people in multiple programs over the years, the more impact we have on these people.”
Neighborhood Bike Works has been applauded by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office for providing children with a relevant community program at a time when youth crime is making headlines.
Neighborhood Bike Works is always looking for volunteers and donations of old bikes. To learn more about the store and its programs, visit quarterbikeworks.org.
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