Collaboration Brings New Bikes To Bay Area Youth

Every kid deserves a bike.

That was the underlying driver behind an innovative collaboration between two DPR Foundation-supported organizations in the Bay Area, 7 Tepees and Turning Wheels for Kids (TWFK). The result was an event March 22, 2014, that benefited nearly 20 youngsters, each of whom received a bike, helmet and lock as well as bike safety training.

A dozen DPR volunteers along with volunteers from the two charities and from Google (who work with the youth as mentors) turned out to support and run the event held at the 7 Tepees learning center in San Francisco’s Mission District.

The project was the brainchild of DPR’s 7 Tepees liaison, Steven Grandin, who says the idea came to him one day sitting at work. Knowing the excellent work San Jose-based TWFK does each year providing new bikes to underprivileged children in the Bay Area, Grandin wondered whether the youth they support in the 7 Tepees program could also benefit.

Ultimately, 19 middle and high school youth turned out for the daylong program which included each participant learning to build their own bike, bike safety training with the San Francisco Biking Coalition and a group ride. “It was really important to have the kids participate in the process,” Grandin says. “We don’t just hand things to them, in anything we do with them.”

For most of the youth from 7 Tepees, the bike they received was their first. Some had never even ridden a bike before and were taught how to ride that day, Grandin says.

The event was a homerun in a number of ways, he says. For one, it set a precedent for DPR Foundation-supported groups working together to maximize the benefits. “I think the synergy and the coordination between two of our supported organizations is really a milestone for us.”

In addition, the partnership will allow TWFK to collect information over time on how the youth are using the bikes. “We’ll check in quarterly and see how they are using the bikes, if they still have them, and how the bikes have impacted their lives,” Grandin says. “Being able to follow the metrics is extremely valuable and important.”

All in all, the day was a win-win for everyone involved, Grandin notes. “Everybody had a great time, and it was just a hugely successful event. The smiles on the kids’ faces really made it for me!”