Bike Program Provides Kids With Wheels, Maintenance Lessons

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The UA's Cochise County Cooperative Extension is working with Douglas schoolchildren on a program to repair and refurbish donated bicycles, culminating with a July 4 bicycle rodeo and giveaway.

The program teaches important skills not only in dealing with the bicycles, but in terms of leadership and healthy lifestyles, says Darcy Tessman, the 4-H Youth Development associate agent heading up the program.

"We did this program many, many years ago in Douglas. Those young people have grown up and graduated and moved on," Tessman says. "But it was such a success in this community, it's something I suggested to this group of young mentors and since they had this emphasis on healthy lifestyles, they were very interested in it."

For the bicycle rodeo, the students will use the bikes they've repaired to be able to teach others about safety and control and then present the bikes to other local youth.

"Douglas is a low income area so a lot of kids aren't going to be able to purchase a new bike, so by teaching young people how to repair bikes, it gives them a skill they can use for many, many years," she says. "We're also trying to teach young people how to have an entrepreneurial spirit, so instead of waiting for somebody to do something for them, we're teaching them to be empowered to be ripples of positive change for their community."

The program is a joint effort between UA Cooperative Extension, 4-H Youth Development and family and consumer health sciences programming from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Tucson's non-profit BICAS group (Bicycle Inter-Community Art and Salvage) partnered with the group of young mentors on repair lessons and spare parts.

Read the rest of this July 2nd, 2013 UANews article at the link below.

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