Bikes for the World also supports two dozen domestically run projects. Many of these projects include seasonal bike distrubtions to area youth, earn-a-bike projects, and local co-ops providing mechanic skills training or bikes to assist in employment opportunities for adults. Some of our larger projects operating in the United States include:
Gearin' Up Bicycles, Washington DC, Kristi's Christmas, Fairfax VA, Phoenix Bikes, Arlington VA, Recycle Bicycle, Harrisburg PA, TERRIFIC Earn-A-Bike Project, Rockville MD, VéloCity Bicycle, Alexandria VA, and Working Bikes, Chicago, IL.
Most of the impact of Bikes for the World occurs overseas. However, a significant local impact takes place as well For example, Bikes for the World donated bikes to half a dozen local programs:
- Employment programs for adults – Casa de Maryland’s day laborer center in Rockville MD;
- Earn-a-bike programs for teens – Phoenix Bikes (Arlington VA) and Bikes for the World’s own Rockville Youth Bike Project, in partnership with the City of Rockville’s Department of Recreation and Parks; and
- Gifting programs for younger children – Bikes for Tykes and Teens (Alexandria/Fairfax), Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill (Alexandria), and Communities Helping Others (Vienna VA).
Because of it scale, Bikes for the World also acts as a clearinghouse for local groups to obtain bicycles for specific needs. For example, in 2011, Bikes for the World put a DC abused women’s shelter in touch with the Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill bike program; two clients of the shelter needed reconditioned bikes to participate in the program and to work; the Metro-accessible Alexandria program had several reconditioned women’s bicycles immediately available.
Beyond distributing bicycles, Bikes for the World benefits the greater Washington DC region through providing tangible, educational and rewarding community service opportunities to individuals and community organizations, both young and adult.
During 2012, high school students in Maryland earned more than a thousand “student service learning” hours toward high school graduation requirements. Seven young men managed bike collections as their community service project required for obtaining the Eagle rank, Boy Scouts of America’s highest award. Two young men did bike collections as the community service project for their Bar Mitzvah. Student teams from half a dozen local schools collected bikes or loaded containers.
Adults benefited as well. More than 80 faith communities, service clubs, schools, and businesses sponsored collections and loadings. Two faith communities held their 17th annual collections. Two businesses each contributed a full day of employee labor. The reasons are many, but include the satisfaction of helping others, the contribution to preserving our environment, and the pleasure and team-building impact of working together as a community.
Bikes for the World looks to stimulate all participants, whether donor or volunteer, to take away something positive from the experience—to reflect on the contrast between our society’s material blessings and those less fortunate than ourselves--and eventually to take further action to preserve the environment or to help others.