In 2015, we were able to launch Freedom to Ride thanks to generous grant funding from Impact100 Philadelphia. The funding allowed us to widen our reach by offering a comprehensive program for youth at schools and community centers in West and Southwest Philadelphia neighborhoods in which they refurbished a donated bike of their choosing and used that bike to explore local greenspaces.
Freedom to Ride sessions met twice a week, for a total of 40 hours, at schools, libraries, and community centers throughout West and Southwest Philadelphia. Students learned bicycle mechanics by refurbishing a used bicycle of their choice, then embarking on group rides to Philly’s greenspaces, having learned the rules of the road and general tips on fitness and nutrition. Each session ended with a graduation celebration to honor students’ accomplishments, and everyone took home their new bike, helmet, and U-lock! Our programs instill confidence, inspire a spirit of adventure, and build skills relevant to future success.
Freedom to Ride was largely made possible through collaborative efforts with our Host Partners, whose strong presence in their communities enabled us to offer several sessions throughout 2015. A huge thanks to our partners: Penrose Elementary School, West Philadelphia High School, James L. Wright Recreation Center, Belmont Charter School, Paschalville Free Library of Philadelphia, Wolf Cycles, Francis Myers Recreation Center, and John Barry Elementary School. We're so proud to have had 99 youth engaged in our programming and 85 youth graduated. Additionally, we hired 9 NBW older youth as Assistant Instructors to co-teach our classes. This opportunity also allowed us to offer our services to nearly 400 people in the community through outreach events providing another 14 NBW older youth with jobs as outreach ambassadors.