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It was an ordinary afternoon when a young girl named Britney stopped at Becky and Tim O’Mara’s house to ask for some glue for her homework project. A few days later, Britney came by again, seeking help to fix her broken bike. Becky and Tim arranged for her to do chores in their yard to earn money for the parts, and a month later, they surprised her with a brand new bike. Britney was overjoyed as she sped off, her smile a mile wide, and within no time, all the neighborhood kids wanted to know how they too could earn a bike.

What began with a simple gesture—neighbors helping neighbors—has sparked a community transformation on Atlanta’s Westside.

When the O’Maras moved to Adair Park in 2008, the area was struggling with poverty, unemployment, gang-fighting, drug activity, and a host of other challenges. Children in the neighborhood faced adversity at every turn. But there were also plenty of opportunities for kids to make a difference. They started picking up bags of trash in the streets and local parks, hoping to earn bikes of their own—and by simply mentioning the kids’ efforts to co-workers and friends, Tim and Becky began to receive an outpouring of bike donations.

The Bearings model began to take shape: If you give a kid a bike, they will simply ride it wherever they go, but let them earn the bike, and you can make them a part of the community. Once they are contributing members of their families and the community, they are on the journey to becoming confident, responsible, and healthy young people.

We all need to find our bearings in life. At Bearings Bike Shop, kids can do just that... while they develop skills, benefit from positive influences, and blaze their own paths toward a brighter future.

In 2010, the O’Maras began renting a warehouse basement at 982 Murphy Avenue to serve as the home of Bearings Bike Shop. In this safe, positive environment, kids discover their strengths, develop life skills, and begin to invest in their communities.

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We believe young people are change-makers. We believe they can repair broken chains—on bikes, as well as in their families and communities. Bearings Bike Shop is a place where kids can prove to themselves that they can learn new skills and grow as leaders. They can experience the connection between hard work, optimism, and results. And they can feel the value of giving and receiving respect. This is where they build the bikes, the values, and the skills that will take them where they want to be.
— Becky & Tim O’Mara



Just as a bike frame supports the wheels, handlebars, brakes, and every other component on a bicycle, a strong framework is essential in life, particularly as young people grow up, make choices, and begin to navigate through the wider world.

That’s why the mission of Bearings Bike Shop extends far beyond teaching kids to earn and maintain a bicycle. This unique nonprofit organization works with young people to help them leverage their inner strengths, build self-confidence, gain valuable employability skills, capitalize on opportunities, and achieve their individual goals. Bearings empowers youth as they develop into successful leaders with purpose, character, and confidence.

Although the prospect of earning a bike is what draws kids to Bearings, the excitement of learning new skills and being a part of a community keeps them returning, week after week. In addition to the main bike shop in Adair Park, Bearings now has a satellite location in South Atlanta, and almost unlimited possibilities to engage kids in meaningful, hands-on youth development activities.

After the successful community clean-up nearly a decade ago, Tim turned his attention to developing Bearings Bike Shop’s Skills for Life program, incorporating best practices from other youth empowerment initiatives. Skills for Life features a point system that awards stars to kids as they work toward specific milestones. It focuses on three key areas:

  1. Hard skills including bike assembly, tire repair, brake adjustments, and tune-ups.

  2. Soft skills such as critical thinking and communication, which can make the difference in getting and keeping a job.

  3. Character strengths such as perseverance and responsibility, that help youth do well in high school, college, and their careers.

In addition, Bearings motivates kids to be active and physically fit by promoting cycling as a recreational pursuit and as an inexpensive means of transportation. The bike shop serves as a vibrant community hub where kids can hang out with positive role models, while helping to eliminate idle time.

Older teens who have completed the Skills for Life program have the opportunity to join the organization’s Frameworks program, working as part-time interns fixing bikes, stocking the shop, and coaching kids during shop hours. In addition to obtaining meaningful professional development and on-the-job training, they attend financial literacy workshops and visit various workplaces to gain career insights and to envision new possibilities for their own futures.

Last year alone, 350 students across Atlanta’s Westside participated in Bearing Bike Shop’s unique youth development initiatives. It is now time to give even more young people the chance to learn and grow with Bearings, in a newly expanded facility in Adair Park.

My kids, David and Matthew, have matured so much since they started at Bearings. Their confidence has skyrocketed, and ever since they’ve learned to break down and rebuild a bicycle, they are interested in fixing everything around the house.

The boys earned enough to buy bikes for me and my husband, and now all four of us are riding together. I never owned a bike before and feel so proud that my kids would do that for us. We search out new bike routes on weekends, and I’ve lost a lot of weight. We were all homebodies and couch potatoes before, and now we have a more active, healthy life. The bike shop has changed not only our children’s lives but our entire family.
— Lekita Chambers


The Atlanta BeltLine’s Westside Trail is now open to the public, and people are traveling daily along the three-mile path adjacent to the Adair Park bike shop. Neighborhoods that were once virtually inaccessible to Bearings are now only a short walk or bike ride away on the Trail, which runs from Washington Park to Adair Park and connects four schools, four parks, and a dozen neighborhoods.The BeltLine provides Bearings with a tremendous opportunity to reach many more youth and engage them directly in the bike shop’s life-changing mission.

As a first step toward program expansion, a few years ago, Tim started talking with the bike shop’s landlord about the possibility of buying the entire 0.8-acre property at the corner of Murphy Avenue and Brookline Street. They mutually agreed on a purchase price and when the owner passed away in 2016, his son honored the deal that had been negotiated. After environmental testing was done and the probate process was completed, ownership of the property was transferred to Bearings Bike Shop in 2017.

The 982 Murphy Avenue location is ideal for Bearings to serve its surrounding neighborhoods and support all existing and future bike shop programming. In addition to being situated on the Westside Trail, the Bearings property is across the street from an elevated north-south MARTA rail line, in close proximity to the
new Lee + White food and beverage district and across the BeltLine from the soon-to-be-developed 16-acre Murphy’s Crossing site. The area will undoubtedly experience more change in the near future, and it was critically important that Bearings secured the site at a favorable purchase price while it was still available. Bearings Bike Shop is now preparing to move its youth programming space from its current basement location into a new, airy bike shop on the southwest corner of the property, overlooking the Westside Trail.



capital campaign $2,250,000


Bearings worked with Square Feet Studio and Silverman Construction Program Management to develop the conceptual design of its new home. Now, working under the leadership of NELSON Wakefield Beasley & Associates, Bearings Bike Shop has developed a dynamic vision to repurpose the existing buildings at 982 Murphy Avenue to accommodate the organization’s long-term growth. The new layout for the property will preserve the historical look and feel of the buildings, maintain the local character, improve the functionality of the site, and maximize the impact of Bearings Bike Shop.

In February 2018, Bearings Bike Shop embarked on the exciting journey of the BUILDING TOMORROW Capital Campaign, a $2.25 million campaign to make that vision come to life. In the spring of 2019, Bearings achieved that goal, successfully raising $2,354,450.

In this first phase in a 2-part project, capital campaign dollars will fund the property acquisition and will transform the recently vacated automotive shop into a new, light-filled 5,000-square-foot program space with 20+ bike stands, as well as classroom space for in-depth teaching and training opportunities. In addition, exterior spaces will be upgraded around the new bike shop, with an emphasis on making the property clean and safe. A small parking lot, grass, trees, and other landscaping elements will be installed, and a loop path will be created around the site, giving kids and visitors a great place to ride bikes, run, and play. While securing capital funds for the purchase and renovation of 982 Murphy Avenue, BUILDING TOMORROW also supports Bearings with capacity-building dollars to aid organizational growth during this season of growth.

In Phase 2, Bearings will convert the other main building on the site, next to the double Quonset hut, into a public-facing retail bike shop, the ideal space for hands-on job training opportunities for teens and young adult program participants. It will also contain the new Bearings Support Center, which will feature space dedicated to the organization’s operations, a bike intake center, gathering spaces for kids and adults, and workstations for computer access and homework support. The entire property is focused on strengthening Bearings Bike Shop’s ability to help young people develop the skills that propel them successfully into adulthood. Fundraising for Phase 2 will begin in 2020 after a successful completion of Phase 1 construction.

As redevelopment occurs on Atlanta’s Westside, community leaders have a deep desire to retain and enhance existing assets in individual neighborhoods. In Adair Park, Bearings Bike Shop hopes to play a vital role, serving as a strong community anchor and a shining beacon of hope. With design underway, Bearings looks forward to a grand opening of this new facility in the summer of 2020.

The Kindezi School at Gideons is extremely excited to partner with Bearings Bike Shop. We know from our experience that forging relationships with well-connected community partners is a key component in building both a strong academic and social emotional foundation for our scholars. We have seen first-hand the tremendous impact that Bearings has already had on the Pittsburgh and Adair Park communities, and we look forward to working alongside them to make that impact even greater.
— Danielle Washington Principal, The Kindezi School at Gideons

campaign leadership COMMITTEE

Mr. Alex Dominguez 
Board Member & Campaign Chair
Region One Commercial

Mr. Michael Burke 
Founder/Former CEO, Clockwise.MD 

Mr. Leonce B. Crump Jr.
Lead Pastor
Renovation Church



Mr. Dan Heller 
Board Chair  
Retired, King & Spalding, LLP

Ms. Jill Jinks
Chief Executive Officer
Insurance House Holdings
Mr. Darryl Lesure
Board Member  
Manager, Program Management
Supply Chain

Mr. Howard Lukens 
Chief Sales Officer 

We’ve reached our goal!

$2,354,450 raised to date OF $2.25 MILLION GOAL


Thank you

Building tomorrow partners

We are grateful for the support of an incredible group of Friends of Bearings Bike Shop who believe in the importance of skills development in Atlanta’s youth and have made BUILDING TOMORROW possible:

Joseph B. Whitehead Foundation

The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation

James M. Cox Foundation


12Stone Church

A Friend of Bearings Bike Shop

Cadence Bank

Chick-fil-A Foundation

John H. and Wilhemina D. Harland Charitable Foundation

The Jinks Family Private Foundation

The John and Mary Franklin Foundation

The Sartain Lanier Family Foundation

The Waterfall Foundation

Tull Charitable Foundation, Inc.

NELSON Wakefield Beasley & Associates

Alan and Dena Martin

Melissa Kruse

Tim and Becky O’Mara

Becky and Mark Riley

Ben and Jessica Teague

Bruce and Rhonda Deel

Cedric and Stacye Brim

Passion City Church

Petters Family Foundation

SunTrust Foundation

The Imlay Foundation

Dan and Debby Heller

Darryl Lesure

Dave Stockert and Cammie Ives

David and Loni Metter

David Schofield

Ed McBrayer

Evan and Susan Longstreth

Howard and Ann Lukens

Jaynie and Alex Dominguez

Jeff and Hope Laman

John and Rachael Sherwood

Jon and Vanessa Evans