Village Bicycle Cooperative witnesses greatness
Every now and then, we have a chance to witness greatness. For this story, "greatness" can be defined as the effort of a small group of people providing happiness and reward for others that are less fortunate. At the Village Bicycle Cooperative (VBC) in Bay Village, we were given the opportunity to witness greatness at a Cleveland school.
In late summer, VBC was approached by assistant principal Dave Funk from Marion C. Seltzer School, a Cleveland public school on West 98th Street near Madison Avenue. We were told that an Earn-a-Bike program was created for kids from kindergarten through eighth grade. Here is how it works:
A StarBuck, a Marion C. Seltzer-exclusive dollar, has its principal's image along with its greatness motto: "We Believe in Our Greatness." Kids can earn StarBucks.
How does one earn a StarBuck? Who receives a StarBuck? What does a Starbuck do? Any teacher can give a student or group of students a StarBuck when they are exhibiting exemplary responsibility. A StarBuck can also be given to a student leader who is encouraging a culture of safety and respect. When a student saves up 100 Starbucks, they can buy a bicycle!
To support the StarBuck program, VBC put together a package of eight bicycles of various sizes and types, along with helmets, for delivery. We were welcomed at the school in early October when we delivered a truck full of fun and "pride of ownership." Best of all, these kids earned it.
Village Bicycle Cooperative is a not-for-profit organization established in 2012. All year, VBC collects donated bikes from local citizens for refurbishment. With volunteer support, VBC reconditions donated bicycles to a safe and operational level. Bicycles that are in unrepairable condition are scrapped and recycled. Approximately half of the bikes that VBC receives are sold back to the community providing VBC with operational revenue to sustain its facility in the Community House at 303 Cahoon Road. The other half is donated to charities and programs supporting needy kids. Some bikes find their way to less fortunate adults for the purpose of getting them to and from their jobs.
The holidays are fast approaching. If you or someone you know has experience repairing and refurbishing bikes and wishes to volunteer their time, please let us know. If you happen to own a bike business and have available service staff available off-season to help out refurbishing at your location, we would be happy to have your support.
In the near term, the Community House is going through an updating of its electrical wiring system affecting our storage space. Therefore, VBC cannot accept any new bike donations until the city completes this project. We expect to resume receiving public donation fairly soon. Please check our calendar for construction status at villagebicycle.org.