BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Across the country, cities are setting up mentoring groups to teach teens skills they can use in the real world.
Here in Baltimore, as Mike Schuh reports, mentoring comes in the form of wrenches and two wheels.
It almost sounds like something from a bygone era–bike club.
Every Wednesday, about 20 students at Digital Harbor High School show up for bike club.
Nuts, bolts and ball bearings are the building blocks of a bike, but also the pathway for students to realize things about themselves.
“It’s where a lot of kids who don’t experience tangible success in their life can have control over something and succeed at it,” said Andy Dahl.
“If I’m having a bad day, I come down and just fix a bike and feel happy about it,” said Duleek Joseph.
Feeling happy one bike at a time is what’s building a community here.
“I might have a bike club when I get older, never know,” said Harrison Boardley. “It’s good to learn more skills than what I know so I won’t have to fall back just on one thing.”
Kevin Violenus, a junior, had his bike stolen. But if you work at the bike club, at the end of the semester, you get to keep one.
“So right now, the bike I’m fixing up over there is a dream bike,” Violenus said.
Volunteer Andy is an artist at MICA. He understands why such a simple idea is working.
“It’s a self-esteem builder. I know it worked for me. It helped my own self esteem and with my own success in life,” Dahl said.
The teacher who thought up all of this can boil down what’s happening here to just one word.
“Amazing,” Nicole Veltre-Luton said.
Word is spreading. There’s hope that the bike club could someday become a class.
The bike club is looking for funding, donations of bikes and bike parts. For more information, click here.
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