Spotlight Non-profit: Boise Bicycle Project fulfills the dreams of city’s low-income children

LatinaLista – The pride and joy of every child, before they’re old enough to drive, is to have their own bike. Yet for many low-income families that’s a luxury item that just can’t be squeezed into the family budget.

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For these families lucky enough to live in Boise, Idaho, they don’t have to worry about the expense of a bicycle. The Boise Bicycle Project was founded in October 2007 when the co-founders of BBP, Brian Anderson and Jimmy Hallyburton, started fixing up and handing out bicycles to deserving kids from low-income families.

An idea this good couldn’t help but keep on rolling.

BBP didn’t just want to be a place to supply bikes to deserving kids; they also wanted to serve as a resource for the entire Boise community to supply bikes to those who want one but may not be able to afford it and to educate people on how to be “bike smart.”

As a result, BBP has a number of innovative programs to get the community involved with bikes:

Bikes to Kids
BBP gives bicycles to kids 13 and under for free if they are referred by another charitable organization and finish the BBP bicycle safety program.

Earn-a-Bike
For those who need a bicycle but would rather trade volunteer time instead of paying cash dollars. Once someone completes one of BBP’s free volunteer orientations it takes 10 hours of volunteer time to complete our Earn-a-Bike checklist. Then they can pick out any bike priced $60 or under and begin fixing it for themselves. The idea behind Earn-a-Bike is that they not only receive a bicycle but also the knowledge of how to keep it running. (For ages 17 and under, it only takes 6 hours of time).

There are also classes BBP sponsors on how to fix and maintain bikes.

The organization is driven by volunteers who help in a number of ways — from taking an orientation class to learn how to start fixing bikes to hosting a bike drive to replenish the stock.

By promoting the use of bicycles, BBP accomplishes several things: promoting environmentally safe travel, good exercise for children and passing on a skill that is beneficial.

And most people think bicycles are just good for getting from Point A to Point B.

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