“During the internship, I really came out of my shell.” -Warren, age 17
Meet Warren. He is one of the Bearings Bike Shop veterans; since Warren was 13 (now 17 years old, just this month), he has been coming to the program.
It all began years ago when a few volunteers from Bearings came and knocked on his front door. They told his mom about the program, and as he puts it, “Ever since then, I’ve been coming to the bike shop.” He was one of the original participants who earned his first bike by picking up trash to clean up the neighborhood. Then as the Leveling Up program began in bike building, Warren moved quickly through the levels, and everyone could tell he had a knack for mechanics.
At one point, Warren’s family moved, and it was too far for Warren to bike or walk to the shop. He missed coming so much that he reached out to Tim, and the timing was just right since a new shop location had just opened 1 ½ miles from his new home. By the summer of 2016, Warren had moved through all four levels of the mechanical curriculum, and he officially holds the record as the first participant to make it through Level 4! To this day, this is a fact that Warren is very proud of.
Warren will tell you that he was incredibly quiet and shy for many years. Tim remembers knowing a boy who you would hardly hear from as he diligently worked in the shop. One of the most integral Skills for Life that Bearings promotes is communication, and Bearings was intentional about connecting Warren with situations that pushed him to grow particularly in this area. Over time, Warren came out of his shell. “Now he can talk to anybody,” Tim says. By the time he was 15, Warren even began training some of the new volunteers, and the kids in the shop really looked up to him.
Warren, currently a high school junior, has been an intern in the Advanced Job Training Program for the past two summers. Warren said, “During the internship, I really came out of my shell.” He is now a paid Program Associate, and he works part-time, after school, in the shop each week.
The Program Staff says that he is an “invaluable addition” to Bearings Bike Shop. His gentle temperament makes his presence an incredible asset as he contributes to investing in the youth through his example. Staff will also tell you that Warren is a great student coach, whether he is teaching the early Starting Point elements, coaching younger kids through more advanced mechanics, or guiding them in bike repairs. Through these experiences, the Bearings staff says that they have seen Warren grow as a communicator and that his steady, reliable nature and great attitude make him fun to work with and to have as an assistant not only in the coaching of the kids but also in the retail side of the shop.
Warren currently does duel enrollment at a local technical college, learning automotive mechanics. He toured the technical college with Bearings during the internship two years ago which is how he realized that program would be something he would be interested in doing during high school. He loves being a hands-on fixer whether it be cars or bikes or as the go-to guy at home for fixing things around the house. Warren hopes to one day be a police officer, and in summer 2019, Warren will be the Lead Intern for the Advanced Job Training program in which he will continue to grow in his skills, workforce readiness, and financial literacy. Everyone at Bearings Bike Shop knows and respects Warren, and we are thankful we get to watch his story unfold!