The Motion Initiativeworking to facilitate adventure, freedom, and hope
When you received your first bicycle as a kid; what came with it as an unexpected benefit?
As we reflect, many of us might agree that a sense of adventure, freedom, and hope came with that bicycle. For many under-resourced urban youth, a decent bicycle and a healthy sense of adventure, freedom, and hope are difficult to find. The Motion Initiative is our bicycle ministry working to facilitate adventure, freedom, and hope, through the gateway of cycling, to those that need it most. In this process we aim to facilitate personal achievement, responsibility, and life-giving alternatives to the pitfalls of growing up in a challenging context through the presentation of the Gospel.
The following are our core gateway activities, but they are not what we truly are about. They are connecting points used to help us reach our primary objective of reaching urban youth by introducing them to a deeper connection to Jesus Christ:
The Bike Shop
The bike shop works as a hub of operations for the ministry. We will receive donated bicycles to refurbish and then resell at a fair price to the community. Providing both economical transportation and funds to continue the ministry programs. Youth are invited to participate and learn how a business and workplace function by taking part in all aspects of the bike shop and participate in all the TMI programs. The bike shop also acts as a very cool and safe place to hang out, build relationships, and have some fun. The bike shop features a “hangout” area which is used for youth group, bible studies and meetings, watching movies, and playing video games.
Earn-a-Bike (Bike Bucks)
Our earn-a-bike program rewards youth for the time they put into the bike shop and our programs (this includes the mobile shop). Youth earn “Bike Bucks” for the time they spend working that they can then spend on a new bike, parts, or accessories. Basically they can spend their bike bucks on anything we have available in the bike shop. In turn, we have created a mini economy which helps the youth to dream, set goals, learn proper work ethic, learn proper workplace conduct, learn to manage their finances, and much more. The youth that work in the program are held to high standards as in the workplace. We have also had the opportunity in the past to offer a paid summer Intern position and hope to continue in the future.
Bicycle Repair (Mechanics)
One of the main jobs in our bike shop is fixing up bicycles. Youth are taught a viable job skill and life skill in the maintenance and repair of bicycles by qualified volunteer mechanics. These skills can be used to provide and maintain personal transportation as well as being used as a legitimate job opportunity in the future. Most mechanic skills are taught in a one on one, hands on context. We also offer group mechanic “seminars” to train both youth and volunteers how to repair and maintain their own bicycle.
Bicycle Rides and Trips
We will maintain a fleet of both Mountain and Road bikes, helmets, gloves, water bottles, glasses, and all the equipment needed to host a bicycle ride or trip. We periodically host trips and bring kids to local trails and paths for good clean outdoor fun and exercise on a bicycle. All of our trips are hosted by Christ centered mentors and volunteers, so it proves to be a wonderful opportunity to further build relationships with the youth.
Mobile Bike Shop and Trailer
Last but not least, we have our bicycle trailer. The trailer is outfitted to carry up to 12 bicycles and all the equipment needed for a trip and is towed by our shuttle van which can carry up to 12 passengers. The trailer is also unique in that it is set up to carry bicycle parts and our portable tool boards so that we can visit needy neighborhoods and different events where we go to help kids get their bicycles back on the road for summer. This is a great outreach mechanism and provides a way for the kids to give back and serve their own and other communities.
We believe this unique program has been very powerful in attracting and keeping the attention of the neighborhood youth and will provide a healthy recreational outlet during youth down times.
We also witnessed that participation in the program provides youth with a sense of accomplishment and fosters growth and belief in them as capable contributors to their own future. Specific aspects of the program help produce marketable job skills and life skills that will allow youth to break generational curses and cycles that hold back their families and community. At the root of this program youth will begin to see that they are loved and will be guided towards a relationship with Jesus.