The Earn-a-Bike Program offers youth ages 11 to 14 an opportunity to participate in a program in which they refurbish used bikes for their own use. The program has been in operation for over six years offering three to four sessions per year to middle school students. The sessions operate for 10 weeks, meeting twice a week for 2 hours. The program is provided to participants at no cost, including all materials used to refurbish the bicycles.
The main focus of the Earn-a-Bike Program is on developing positive and healthy social skills as the youth work together to make the appropriate fixes to their bicycles. In addition to this, the program emphasizes teamwork and the importance of exercise, nutrition, and safety through the task of refurbishing the bicycles. The Earn-a-Bike Program also provides a safe place for youth to enjoy working together, communicating with one another, and making new friends.
The Earn-a-Bike Program is provided with work space through collaboration with Rogers Park Middle School, however all youth between the ages of 11-14 may attend the program. The Program Director coordinates the logistics of the program, providing outreach in the schools and community, determining eligibility of the youth participants, and organizing volunteers to assist in the bicycle refurbishing sessions.
The youth participating in the program are at-risk youth that reside in the City of Danbury. The Earn-a-Bike Program provides some of the most vulnerable youth in the City of Danbury an opportunity to be part of life-altering program that teaches them the importance of hard work and working together to achieve a final, successful outcome – a new bicycle. Some of our participants elect to donate their bicycles to others and receive a community service credit.
The fact that many youth benefit by receiving bikes is an indicator of success. The graduation ceremony attests to this as children proudly wheel their bikes forward to receive a certificate in front of parents and friends. During the 2013-2014 school year, the Earn-a-Bike program graduated 36 boys and 3 girls.