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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

Phoenix Bikes Raises Up Old Bikes and Young People

Jun 11, 2013 04:35AM

Phoenix Bikes, a financially and environmentally sustainable nonprofit bike shop in Arlington, empowers local youth to become social entrepreneurs through direct participation iN its community programs. Their programs are designed to teach youth how to restore out-of-service bikes as they work their way toward earning their own bike. In the process, they build free bicycles for needy people in the community, learn business skills from staff mentors, and participate in culturally relevant bike rides.

Ever, an 8th grade student from Kenmore Middle School recently graduated from the Phoenix Bikes program.An immigrant from El Salvador, living with his single mom and sister, boredom and youthful mischief lead him into a series of bad decisions costing him a two week stint in juvenile detention. On the advice of his school counselor and parole officer, Ever came to Phoenix Bikes. Since last May, he has earned a few bikes for himself, friends, and family and now works at Phoenix Bikes part-time – sharpening his mechanic skills, sharing his knowledge with less experienced youth, and most importantly, staying out of trouble.

Youth mechanics become leaders, building physically, socially, and ecologically healthy communities. Many youth stay at the shop long after earning their first bike, teaching their peers and gaining confidence. Program graduates become agents of social change and can be spotted teaching bike mechanics in area schools, working in the local bike community, and advocating for recycled bicycles as a means of sustainable transit and physical health.

Phoenix Bikes is located at 4200 S Four Mile Run Dr, Arlington. For more information, visit PhoenixBikes.org

 

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