Interested in donating a bike? Drop off your gently-used bike at our office, 7400 Sand Point Way NE, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. For questions, please email our Youth Programs Assistant at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you were a student, an elementary student, didn’t you want to make your own class rules? I’m sure at some point you wanted to have a whole class devoted to supporting your art and your experience. Do you remember wanting to spray paint things, get your hands dirty and ride bikes? If any of this sounds familiar, you might have made a good scraper kid.
The Scrapers program this winter gave six awesome and creative kids a chance to maintain, design and earn a bike they could keep for themselves. This winter students were asked to come to the first class with a song they wanted to use as the inspiration for their scraper bike. They were empowered with art and creativity to communicate with the world via a custom bicycle: scrapers are art bikes with spray painted frames and duct taped spokes, replicating spinner wheels. Over the course of eight weeks they learned how to:
-Lube a chain
-Fix a flat tire
-Rebuild a hub (no small feat, I must say!)
-Rebuild a bottom bracket
-Make scraper wheels
-Lock their bikes up securely
If they successfully completed these tasks and attended six of the eight scrapers sessions, the students would be given the bikes as well as a helmet and bike lock.
But the program is about more that just walking away with a colorful bike after two months. It’s about building responsibility, creating your own rules and hands on learning.
From the very first class the students are asked to think carefully about a song they feel represents themselves, and then they are encouraged to turn that song into a bike design. Each kid came up with a wildly different design than the next: from tiger stripes and solid taped wheels to a gold frame with silver rims to a toxic waste bike.
One student even incorporated a project he was working on at school by having the whole class vote on whether or not people should text while driving. He then applied this theme to his black and yellow bike. This same student even came and helped out with the Bicycle Maintenance Parties I was running every Wednesday. His attitude encouraged volunteering and positivity among the other students.
Scraper kids learn resilience and embody an excellent DIY-spirit. A nine year old was having a particularly rough day and suffered a flat tire. When he was told that one of us could help him fix it he said “I can do it myself” and proceeded to, indeed, do it himself.
I couldn’t be more proud of the students that came through the program over the winter. They show us how effective bikes are, not only as a mode of transportation, but also as a learning tool and a community builder. If only we all got to be scraper kids…