Kentucky Refugee Ministries
The goal of this program is for newly arrived teenage youth to gain skills in riding and repairing bicycles. The youth are able to take home a bicycle, helmet, and lock at the end of the program, having completed cycling safety and repair courses. It is intended that the youth become empowered with their new knowledge and feel more comfortable among their peers.
This summer program's structure evolves each year. They meet once or twice a week for two hours at a time for eight to ten weeks during the summer. During this time the youth observe, try repairing the bicycles themselves, and go for rides around neighborhoods and parks. The youth learn how to repair a flat tire; fix a borken or loose chain; tune gears, brakes, bottom bracket, headset and hubs; adjust tensions and height levels; how to mount and dismount; safety signals; and traffic rules. Interpreters are provided as needed. The instructors evaluate the youths' demonstrated skill.
"Tools for Life: A Start-Up Guide For Youth Recycling & Bicycling Programs" by George Roman Babiak & Karen Overton.
The program serves multi-ethnic groups (ages 10-17) that include Cuban, Sudanese, Congolese, Togolese, Somalian, Azerbaijani, Bosnian, Iraqi, and Iranian teenage youth.
Donations from the community garnered monetary support, bicycles, and discounts at local cycling stores. Chain Reaction has also received support through a grant from the Louisville Office of Youth Development.
One or two members of the community with informally demonstrated skill and knowledge of bicycle safety volunteer as instructors.
Usually two or three volunteers guide hands-on practice and cycling.
The youth's gained knowledge and demonstrated skills in six major categories (tires, gears, breaks, headset, hubs, bottom bracket) and safety, along with confidence in cycling, define a successful summer program.
Youth respond excitedly each summer. As Chain Reaction collects more equipment, the program is able to allow more youth more hands-on skill practice. The youth ride with a sense of accomplishment and self-sufficiency at the end of the summer on their own bikes.
Youth Services Coordinator
This summer program began in 2001; it is no longer operating.