The Earn-A-Bike Program offers youth ages 11 – 14 an opportunity to participate in a program that operates during evening hours for youth interested in refurbishing used bikes for their own use. The program has been in operation for over six (6) years offering three (3) to four (4) sessions per year to middle school students. The sessions operate for three (3) weeks, meeting two times a week for two (2) hours. The program is provided to participants at no cost that includes all materials used to refurbish the bicycles.
The Earn-A-Bike Program is provided with work space through collaboration with Rogers Park Middle School, however youth from both Rogers Park and Broadview Middle School 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 program’s main focus is on developing positive and healthy social skills as the youth work together to make the appropriate fixes to their bicycles. In addition, 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 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 one (1) indicator of success. The graduation ceremony attests to this as each child proudly wheels his/her bikes forward to receive a certificate in front of parents and friends. There is already a waiting list of middle school students who have applied for the program. During the 2008-2009 school year, the Earn-A-Bike program graduated 50 Danbury youth, 36 boys and 14 girls.
Wheels for Kids Program:
During the holiday season, through the Wheels for Kids Program, DYS distributes over 200 refurbished bikes to the Danbury Community. These bikes are donated by community members and volunteers help refurbish the bicycles. The program also distributes helmets and information about bicycle safety.
What a night! Christmas spirit and Universal bike enthusiast spirit converged on Cannondale, Inc. in a wonderful way. Friday night, December 11, 2009, a big group of volunteers washed, mechanically checked/overhauled and detailed over 100 juvenile bikes in one evening. Soap and water flew, wrenches spun at six work stands. People used to working on Campagnolo with kid gloves fixed Huffy’s with slip joint pliers… and had a blast doing it. The bicycles will be distributed at Santa’s Workshop on December 19, 2009 located at 11 Franklin Street, across from the Dorothy Day Hospitality Center.
Contact: Tom Thomassen, Project Director
(203) 748 – 2936 ex.23
Tom acquired his passion for youth while participating in a Danbury Parent Leadership Program resulting in a major career change for Tom. His goal is to help youth learn how to become successful adults. As a Project Director at Danbury Youth Services since June 2005, Tom is responsible for the delivery of three programs – Earn-A-Bike, Youth Employment Services (YES), and Community Based Life Skills (CBLS). Tom is from Millbrook, NY. and now resides in Danbury, Ct. He is also an accomplished wedding photographer.