Monday, April 15, 2013

Why we do it: growing leaders

My big brother taught me to ride!

You know the short story: we use bikes to empower kids to be leaders and to serve others. Master Mechanics repair bikes for younger students, who learn safe riding skills in B.L.A.S.T. classes.  What you don't usually get to see is how those kids take those skills and values.  I got to see it today.

Today Frank Rushton fifth graders learned how to "scan" traffic over their shoulders and use hand signals to communicate with other road users.

After the class, as kids were running to put their bikes and helmets up, a little girl in a blindingly blue hijab came up to me to explain exactly why she was so great at riding a bike. (I had noticed she was pretty practiced at getting a helmet over bun underneath her hijab.) 

She told me she knew how to ride in the street, signal and follow traffic laws because her older brother had taught her. Her older brother even let her ride his bike sometimes, the same bike that he earned in a class at Rosedale Middle School just down the road in December. Now I knew this kid was a leader; he not only helped others, but also led a troubled kid in the class away from bullying and toward working together. I did not know he went home and taught his little sister how to ride!  Now she might take home one of the bikes he and his friends repaired and will probably become a Master Mechanic next year, keeping it rolling forward.

These kids are incredible! I can't wait to see what they do next.  

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