Program design is like baking. You need the right ingredients, put together properly, to create something delicious. In Recycle-A-Bicycle‘s case a strong partner is worth all the sugar in the world.
Collaboration between Recycle-A-Bicycle and The Heights Urban Empowerment, Inc. (THUE) began in the spring of 2017. THUE is dedicated to working with youth and young adults from Northern Manhattan and the South Bronx in guiding them into becoming independent, critical thinking, altruistic, and strong leaders. It uses the outdoors as a tool to motivate, inspire and strengthen the youth as they become young adults in their community and in NYC. The organization volunteered at Bike New York rides for some time, so it is no surprise that THUE applied to be a Bike Bonanza partner.
Last April, fifteen THUE volunteers came out in force to the Bike Bonanza at Car Free Earth Day. They helped set up, assisted with Spanish translations at the sign-in table, guided people into selecting the proper size bike for their child, and some even fixed a few flats. From 10am-3pm, the crew worked steadily and helped Bike New York distribute 44 bikes to the Washington Heights community.
That spring, THUE signed up to provide the marshal team for the TD Five Boro Bike Tour segment leading into Astoria Park. The leaders asked if they could visit the shop and make some needed repairs. We spent an afternoon teaching basic repairs and doing safety checks at the Recycle-A-Bicycle shop in LIC. By 5pm, the youth marshals were eager and engaged. Fast forward to March 2019: we’re gearing up for the TD Five Boro Bike Tour with 10 THUE teens who are doing complete overhauls on bikes they will take home for keeps. That leaves a month to train for the marshal job ahead of them. What better way to ride, than on a bike you built? Way to go!