Friday, June 11, 2010

Valid Bike Shop: A note from the Bike Fed's Jake Newborn

I have been working in the North Division High School location in Milwaukee since fall of 2007. Then, it was me and one youth employee from Riverside University High School. The summer of 2008, the Bike Fed partnered with Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board (MAWIB) in Mayor Tom Barrett's Earn and Learn Program. Nine youth were placed in our site.

Milwaukee Public Schools provided a space in North Division that had served as an old autoshop classroom. It quickly became a bustling workshop for refurbishing bicycles. After a successful summer program, we found out about another program through MAWIB called Futures First Initiative. This program focused on giving at-risk youth job training during the school year as an after-school job opportunity.

We were accepted as a worksite for the Earn and Learn 2009 and will continue operating the shop this summer. Each session, a few of the youth are able to continue with us, so some have been with us for almost two years now. We also receive new placements, which gives previously trained youth the opportunity to teach and work with new trainees.

On Wednesday this week, Valid Bike Shop had an open house to celebrate Bike to Work Week and the end of the semester. William Weathersby and Brandy Porter were named Mechanics of the Year and received a home workstand and a starter mechanic tool kit.

We have more than 200 bikes currently in the shop. Of those, 150 are maintained as a part of the Safe Routes to School program in Milwaukee Public Schools. Many of those will be given to students who complete a bike camp over the summer. I am in the process of receiving another 150 bikes from the Milwaukee Police Department to refurbish over the summer.

We also fix adult bikes for sale to the community at reasonable prices. If you're looking for a new old bike, I have about 10 right now that are ready to go!

Thank you to:
- Jake Newborn, Bike Fed project coordinator and lead mechanic

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