While Chavi Rhodes was earning her MSPH in International Health here at the Bloomberg School, she would repair her bike at nearby do-it-yourself shop, Velocipede. A program she loved, it is a shop for Baltimore residents who offer support and a space to repair bikes. However, the shop doesn’t allow those under 18 years old to participate. That’s when Chavi had an idea.
Every kid wants a bike and by providing an activity and space, maybe she could help children avoid trouble after school by teaching them how to repair bikes. After working so many hours in the shop, that child could earn his or her own bike. Thus, Baltimore Youth Kinetic Energy (BYKE) was born.
Now, BYKE is open three days a week, and Wednesdays are dedicated to girls only. Outside of the school year, extended hours are available. Chavi works to build mentorship and create community through BYKE. Once children shows development, they may be promoted to an intern where they can earn $10 an hour for working in the shop and looking out for younger kids.
Last week, The Baltimore Sun wrote an article on BYKE and their success in reaching out to kids and their families. Read the full article for insight into some of the kids’ and families’ responses to the program.