Open Roads Bike Program

Open Roads is a youth development program that teaches social skills and bike mechanic skills to youth in order to better prepare them for their future. What began with four kids and two adults in a classroom at Kalamazoo College in 2009 is now located in the newly-revitalized Riverview Launch and has grown into dozens of programs offered around Kalamazoo. Young people in our programs can build and earn a bicycle, learn to make repairs, gain leadership and vocational skills, and so much more. Instead of telling youth what not to do, with Open Roads they are told what is expected; they are taught how positive behavior looks and sounds, and are acknowledged for demonstrating it. We focus on five simple ideas we call our ROADS expectations: R — Respect, O — Own your actions, A — Attitude counts, D — Discipline, S — Safety.

We collaborate with other organizations and schools in order to reach youth most in need of skill-building after-school programming. This year we are excited to join forces with the Kalamazoo Nature Center and Read and Write Kalamazoo for new summer Earn-a-Bike camps. We will also be helping youth at the Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home, Lakeside Academy, and Comstock High School complete our Earn-a-Bike Program. Finally, we will resume our weekly summer Fixapalooza bike repair clinics with the Vine Neighborhood Association and Peace House.

We are proud of every young person who has earned their own bike and gained new skills through hard work and commitment. It has been a fantastic journey. In the coming year we are focused on creating a community full of safe, active, and healthy young bicyclists with a wide range of social, leadership, and vocational skills.

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