PHILADELPHIA, Pa - To a lot of kids, a bicycle is a symbol of freedom. A bike shop in West Philadelphia is not only giving kids the freedom that comes with a bicycle, but it’s also giving them a chance to learn something new.
"Neighborhood Bike Works," on Lancaster Avenue is not your typical urban bike shop. It’s a non-profit organization that gives kids the opportunity to learn about how bikes work and how to fix them through a program called, "Earn a Bike."
The program is designed to give kids and teens a positive activity where they can work towards earning a bike of their own. "Earn a Bike" gives kids an incentive to keep learning, while also keeping them off the streets.
Jessica West, of Neighborhood Bike Works, said, "We give kids an outlet, both physically and emotionally to have a safe space where they have mentors that become important fixtures in their lives."
Kiyoshi Howard, an employee of Neighborhood Bike Works, started the program when he was a teenager. Howard used the skills he learned through "Earn a Bike," to continue through other programs offered at the shop.
"I got to pick up all my skills and went through the rest of the programs, from earn a bike, to bike build, to winter bike build, to youth bike summit," he said.
The goal of the shop, now, is to get kids enrolled in multiple programs, like Kiyoshi.
"We’re trying to create a pipeline," West said. "The longer we engage these youth in multiple programs throughout years, the more impact we have on those individuals."
Neighborhood Bike Works was applauded by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office for providing kids with a relevant, community based program at a time when youth-involved crime grabs headlines.
Neighborhood Bike Works is always looking for volunteers and donations of old bikes. To find out more info about the shop and its programs, visit neighborhoodbikeworks.org.
- Commissioner Outlaw: Public safety in Philadelphia is an 'ecosystem' that requires community support
- 100 people with rare cancers who attended same NJ high school demand answers
- Federal judge voids US transportation mask mandate