HOPE Center Sports a Student-run Bicycle Repair Class

Hope Center 11-7-14 (2)

Take four bicycles in various stages of repair, four boys with somewhat greasy fingers, an instructor and a Friday morning at the Project HOPE Center at Lincoln School is underway.

For the past four or five weeks, on Friday mornings and Monday evenings, youngsters, mostly middle school age boys, will cover the floor in their bike room with protective tarp, open up a tool box and begin to repair donated bikes. The students will get to keep the bikes that they repair.

Byron Hall, Providing Instruction to Students

Byron Hall, Providing Instruction to Students

Lori Hammer, executive director of the HOPE Center on North 10th Street, said the kids are having fun and learning at the same time, “Rick Akers from Parks and Recreation dropped off the bikes and the kids select one that suits them and begin to learn how to fix them.” Akers gets the bikes that go unclaimed from the Lamar Police Department.  Hammer continued, “Today, we had two youngsters drop off their own bikes for some minor repairs.  Byron Hall is with us right now, giving advice on how to handle the repairs.”  Hall was on the floor with two students pumping air into a bike tire with a hand pump.

Hammer explained this is the first season for the project which matches four students to their bikes for Monday and Friday work sessions. “Byron and Ernie Esparza work on Fridays and Kevin Nelson and Bryce Hiegel come on Monday evenings for the other four students.  “We started with kids who don’t have their own bikes, and selected a group from the middle school,” explained Hammer.

Some of the bikes are being cannibalized for parts. Hammer said Hall has been working with a website and getting some parts at cheaper rates.  “We’re getting a pretty good deal on a lot of things,” he said.  “We’re also saving money on the tools, as Emily Nieschburg supplied us with funds from the Healthy Places project,” Hammer added.  She remarked that some of the boys really get into their project and need to be reminded to put away their bike and head to their next class.  One told her, when he got the parts he needed to repair his bike, “This is just like Christmas.”

Cupcake Time!

Cupcake Time!

Although there were only 30 students at the Project HOPE Center this past Friday, November, 7, the students were busy. The annual Chili Supper and silent auction were only hours away, some kids were adding decorations and frosting to the cupcakes for the night’s meal.

Last Minute Tasks Before the Chili Dinner

Last Minute Tasks Before the Chili Dinner

Students down the hall were busy knitting multi-colored scarves which would be put up for the silent auction to raise operating funds for the Project HOPE programs. A small group of girls was finishing their class on basic yoga in another room, rolling away their mats and preparing for their next session.

(Editor’s Note:)  From a late email from Lori Hammer, approximately $2,100 was raised from the Chili Supper and silent auction.

By Russ Baldwin

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