Ten years ago an outreach worker started picking up discarded bikes from the bins and alleyways of Minneapolis. He gave them away to the homeless kids he was trying to reach.
Bikes change lives because they take you places you might not otherwise reach. But he also found the bikes to be a useful engagement tool. Bikes became the medium to work with homeless youth. Five years later, a bike shop emerged.
I learned all this from Crystal Brinkman, a Full Cycle staffer who came to a recent BAC sub-committee meeting I attended. She was there to communicate news of an open house. Full cycle is expanding their shop to the firehouse behind their building. Here's a bit more about the program:
Full Cycle gives away free bikes by appointment
The idea is to help kids learn bike repair skills and engage them in conversation in a nonclinical setting.
This way they can help them with food, a place to stay, discuss work, housing, or school.
Here's how the program works:
Kids ages 16-23 are eligible
They get a six-month paid internship
Locks and lights are included and helmets are offered
The program is growing, and has attracted the attention of corporations like QBP, which has provided funding and strengthened the career connection, for example by giving informational interviews.
Tonight's open house celebrates their new space, in a firehouse behind their bike shop. Crystal welcomed anyone to drop on by and take a peek for yourself.
5:30 - 7:30
3515 Chicago Avenue South
Appetizers, drinks, bikes, and conversation
*Picture is a mural outside the shop.
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