"Geared for Life"
How many elementary and middle school-aged kids do you know who can captain a tandem bicycle? How many kids do you know who could ride 180 miles, over three days across the state of Maine? What about repair bicycles on their own in the event of a serious mechanical melt-down? Or co- lead bicycle mechanics classes for other adults and kids?
Thanks to North Face’s commitment to breaking down barriers that prevent kids from exploring their natural playgrounds, the Community Bicycle Center (CBC) has been able provide at-risk kids with free opportunities to grow through bicycling and bicycling-related experiences. Using bikes as a tool for developing life skills and healthy habits in under-resourced kids, during 2010, the CBC engaged 355 kids in asset-building experiences. Kids as young as seven years old rocked the trails during mountain bike rides, achieved new mileage goals during road rides, and developed positive relationships with other adults and kids while tandem cycling.
The ripple effect extends beyond the child. Brothers and sisters are repairing bikes for younger siblings, sons and daughters are surprising their parents with refurbished bicycles from our donated stock for family bike rides, and shop participants are overhauling bicycles for others in-need of two wheeled transportation. Kids are choosing positive behaviors and role modeling healthy lifestyles to other community members, teachers, parents, and neighbors.
During the summer months alone, kids rode 8,229 miles cumulatively, repaired and earned 44 bicycles, received 26 free helmets, and connected with 56 adult mentors. Parents reported that their kids were learning self-initiative and assertiveness (“CBC has helped her find her voice”), gaining health benefits (“my child lost 10 pounds because she was going on CBC bike rides and staying active…she is sleeping better at night”), and practicing self-control. One parent reported “when they come to the shop they are around good people, which is important for my kids and other kids that I see in my neighborhood. A lot of kids don’t know what “good” is because they don’t see it at home.” All of our programs are free for kids.
Visit www.ExploreFund.org to learn more about the Explore Fund and see how your non-profit could be our next grantee!