Our first summer Fix happened yesterday!
We fixed and earned bicycles, took test rides on the trail, tried to learn to ride without training wheels, and took a well-deserved break on the sidewalk for some chalk time with the little kiddos.
This summer we're welcoming students 18 and under to our workshop every week on Thursdays from 3-7pm!
We encourage students to bring their bike so they can make repairs and learn to do tune-ups, but even if students show up without bikes they can participate in the other special summer activities we will have going on. The air conditioned Youth Lounge will always feature arts and crafts and lego free-play. We'll head outside when it's nice for games and play in the backyard and sidewalk. When we have enough students with repaired bikes around we'll take a short trail ride to stretch our legs. It's going to be one fun summer and we want you and your kids to be part of it with us!
F.A.Q. for Parents, Grandparents, Guardians:
Do I need to stay with my child at the program or can I drop them off?
You are more than welcome to stay and relax in the Youth Lounge or by your child's side while they participate in the program. We suggest having a conversation with your child to see if they would be more comfortable with you staying or leaving. If you leave and they decide they want to be picked up, they can always use our phone to call for a ride. Parents are NOT required to be with or check their child in at the program every day, unless their child is age 6 or under. We encourage independence and self-advocacy and have many students age 7 or over who come to the program on their own. We simply require a waiver to be completed their first time attending the program. Once that waiver is on file, they can come on their own anytime with your permission. Please note that due to the nature of our programming and the number of students who check themselves in and out, we do not control when students leave the program unless we know they are being picked up by an adult family member or friend. *Please feel free to have a conversation with a staff member or call us at the shop if you want to discuss specific rules for your child entering and leaving the program (we have some adults who want their child to call them to let them know they are on their way home, for example).
Will my child be fed at the program?
We offer healthy snacks during the program that include a fruit, grain, dairy, or protein option. If you child has food sensitivities or specific dietary needs please let a staff member know and indicate it on their waiver. During the summer we usually have pizza together at the very end of the program around 6:30pm.
What if my child doesn't have a bike but wants to attend?
During the summer we see a ton of students who don't have a bike but want to participate. There are three options:
Can we leave my child's bike there at your workshop?
Unfortunately we don't have enough space to store student bikes. We encourage them to buy, or apply for a scholarship, for a bike lock to secure their bike at home.
What if my student has unique emotional or learning needs, or requires specific physical accommodations? Will they be able to participate and enjoy themselves?
Yes! We will work hard to make sure your student feels included, engaged, and valued here. We will work with you and your student to ensure there are appropriate activities and staff support to accommodate any needs your student may have. If you would like to talk about your child in advance before you bring them to a program, feel free to call and talk to a staff member about a game plan you feel good about!
Can my child bring my bike or their sibling's bike to work on and fix? Is there a limit on the number of bikes they can repair?
Due to our limited resources and focus on youth bikes, we encourage parents to bring their bikes to our Saturday Adult Open Shop, a donation-based program where adults can use our tools and get advice from our team members about making their own repairs to their bikes. Students can put air in their parent's tires and clean their parent's bikes up, but we cannot do part replacement or major repairs.
If one of your children cannot attend the program but need their bike repaired, we do allow students to repair their sibling's bike. We prefer that students fix and work on their own bikes, but know this is not always possible.
We have a firm one bike per year rule with students. We set this expectation upfront and ensure they understand the bike they bring to the program to work on regularly should be the same bike every time. That is the bike we will invest new parts into and support them in maintaining. Exceptions are made for when they outgrow their bike, pass that bike on to a younger sibling or family member, and occasionally we can make exceptions for bikes that get stolen. We prefer to coach your child on lock use and provide a bike lock to prevent theft, but know that life happens!
We have some work to do, and we invite you to join us!
This year we're focusing on exploring new paths to meet the needs of youth in our community. Mobility, mentorship, and advanced social, emotional, and life skills continue to be the priorities of our bike-focused curriculum. Investing in youth-driven leadership by paying students to lead program improvement, and learning to establish ourselves as an anti-bias, anti-racist organization along the way are critical components to Open Roads in 2019.
As we consider our future and the role we play in our community, we want to ensure we contribute to building more equitable systems rather than perpetuating inequitable ones.
Over the past two months, our Youth Board, staff team, and Board of Directors each engaged in a conversation about Equity at Open Roads. We took this Pledge, and encourage you to try it out too. It comes from a blog we're following, Fakequity, which is based on the premise that Fake Equity is bad. It shows up as all talk and no action. We're all about action here at Open Roads, and we need to get started. As a part of this community, we hope you will join us! Below is a resource guide for topics related to equity, understanding and dismantling racism, nonprofits, and books, movies, and other media to help guide your education in these subject areas.
As for the immediate future at Open Roads, we've established an Anti-Bias, Anti-Racist Organizational Change Committee to meet quarterly. The first order of business will be reviewing and improving equity in our employment systems and equity in our program development and implementation.
All of this requires a set of informed policies and practices, intentionally designed to promote opportunity and rectify disparities, and it requires informed people positioned to implement them effectively. Out of the *nine positions of leadership within Open Roads, three of those individuals are People of Color. Therefore, the majority of people with the most power and control within the organization are white and have not experienced systemic racism themselves.
A Few Definitions:
Organizational Racism: The way normal, seemingly neutral or objective organizational policies and systems (e.g., the way we hire people, recruit board members, develop programming) can create disparities in access and outcomes for racialized and Indigenous individuals and communities. If not addressed, policies and systems can increase disparities in power.
Anti-Racist Organizational Change: Making organizational changes like reviewing and modifying management structures and procedures in a way that intentionally addresses structural racism and creates greater diversity, inclusion, and equity
The Resource Guide:
Conversation Guide: Talking about Racism, Racial Equity and Racial Healing with Friends, Family, Colleagues and Neighbors (borrowed from National Day of Racial Healing)
Truth & Racial Healing in Kalamazoo: Advancing racial equity and racial healing in Kalamazoo and beyond
ERRACE: ERACCE exists to eliminate structural racism and create a network of equitable Antiracist institutions and communities, based in the Southwest Michigan region - they offer trainings and workshops to deepen understanding and encourage action
Nonprofit AF Blog: Vu Le is a writer, speaker, vegan, Pisces, and the Executive Director of Rainier Valley Corps, a nonprofit in Seattle that promotes social justice by developing leaders of color, strengthening organizations led by communities of color, and fostering collaboration between diverse communities. This blog features an awesome cultural competence topic section.
Bicycle/ Race book: Bicycle / Race is a book of borderlands and intersections, a cautionary tale about the dangers of putting infrastructure before culture, and a coming-of-age story about power and identity. Our Board of Directors is reading this one right now!
Understanding and Dismantling Racism: A helpful booklist, particularly for white readers
Racial Equity Tools: A resource list of books and films
* The nine positions of leadership at Open Roads include: The Board Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer (who make up the Executive Committee), the Executive Director, Program Manager, and Shop Manager (Trike leadership staff team), and the Youth Advisory Board President and Youth Advisory Board Vice President.
Posts Provided By:
Erin Denay, Executive Director - In Coordination with: Open Roads staff and board members, youth and parents, and dedicated program partners