uncovering a treasure
Terry represents exactly the kind of kid that Bearings Bike Shop exists for. He is a 7th grader at a local public school and frequently ends up on the radar of administrators. He has shown that he is a quick learner with high mechanical aptitude, but he has trouble controlling his impulses and temper. He has been involved with the bike shop for about 3 years. After infrequent visits in the spring, he showed up in August with his mentor, who had been to the bike shop before but was looking for a way to help kids in the neighborhood get and keep working bikes. After going through our volunteer screening process, Terry’s mentor started bringing him to the shop regularly in the fall.
On one of his visits, Terry spotted a donated bike that the staff had designated to be stripped for parts. It was an electric bike designed to look and feel like a dirt bike. He had been saving up for a shiny new bike, but Terry decided this oddity was the bike he truly wanted. With the guidance of his mentor and the Bearings’ mechanic, Terry worked with focus, determination, and curiosity to convert the electric bike into a custom pedal bike. With that work and the stars he had saved up, he was able to purchase his prize bike for himself.
A few weeks later, Terry's principal came to visit the shop. She confirmed that due to his behavior at school, she was “very aware” of him and had actually just seen him in her office that morning. His principal was thrilled that Terry was involved and showing great promise in the bike shop, and when shown a picture of him with the bike he earned she said, “I think I’m going to cry. I’ve never seen that smile of joy on his face before.”
We are thrilled that Terry worked to earn a bike that brought him such great joy. But what matters the most to us is that along the journey of earning a bike, Terry was coached and encouraged by adult mentors that see his potential and have high expectations of him, in an environment that allows him to demonstrate and develop his gifts and strengths. We consider kids like Terry - the ones highest on their principals’ radars — to be the kids we want in the shop.We aim to do three things through our program: get kids active; replace negative influences with positive role models; and teach hard skills, soft skills, and character strengths.