A youth-led bike shop in Belle Haven that would provide employable skills for local teenagers and promote bicycle use in the community is the goal of a fundraising campaign launched by the Menlo Park clubhouse of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula (BGCP).
"Many Menlo Park youth have a passion for bicycles," said Jeff Feinman, vice president of clubhouses and high school programs for BGCP. "They've also noticed that the Belle Haven community lacks a bike shop."
With $15,000, the clubhouse could start the project, buying a shipping container and turning it into a bike shop and storage facility, he said.
Youth mechanics would be trained to repair and refurbish bikes that could be sold, loaned or given to families in the community. The mechanics would learn other job skills, such as how to deal with customers, work as a team and manage projects, Mr. Feinman said.
"The project combines community service with tangible skill-building," he said.
Among possible outgrowths from the bike shop:
● Organizing community bike rides as part of the clubhouse's health and wellness campaign.
● Reducing truancy rates at Menlo-Atherton High School by providing more bikes to Belle Haven teens.
● Partnering with local businesses, such as Facebook, to explore pathways to employment with their transportation departments.
Local residents and community organizations, such as the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, could be brought in as partners. Menlo Park Mayor Ray Mueller is backing the project, making phone calls and sending emails to mobilize volunteers.