LANSING, Mich. — Lansing resident John Cooper is a class instructor for the Kids Repair Program. It’s a volunteer-run, nonprofit organization that teaches kids everything they need to know about bicycles.
“It's an experience like no other," says Cooper. "This program allows these kids to gain and build a skill, and it's a skill no one can take away from them.”
Lansing resident Steve Jacobson has been a part of the Kids Repair Program for several years and says he loves being able to help the kids learn about bikes and also give them a free bike at the end of the program.
“We get bikes from the local police department and surrounding police departments," says Jacobson. "We take the good bikes and then check them out and determine if they're going to go toward the program or if we need to get the bikes repaired or just use the parts."
The Kids Repair Program also gives kids a free helmet and teaches them bike safety.
"A lot of these kids don't have bikes," says Jacobson. "They're so happy just to get a bike. They get so excited they want to ride, but we tell them that we have to fix their bike first, and they have to go through the program first."
Cooper adds, “We have a chart of a bicycle, and these kids try to name all the parts of the bicycle. Then we do a tool game, and they have to name all the special bike tools. It's all about giving them knowledge so they know what they're using and why they're using it. We also ensure the bike we give them is properly fitted for the kids. They will also patch bike tubes, and refurbish their front wheel bearings.”
I asked why is all of that important to know.
"Because it's all critical stuff on a bicycle. You know, if you blow out a tube going down the trail. You'll be able to fix that. If you're pedaling a lot harder, there's probably some resistance somewhere, and it allows you to fix it," Cooper said.
Lansing resident Bennet Beal was one of the kids who received a free bike this year.
"The first day we fixed the front hub. We took it apart, cleaned it, greased it, and then put it back in," says Bennet. "The second day was the back hub, which we did the same thing. It was a little bit more complicated with the chain, gears, and casket, which is this thing."
The repair program runs all summer. In the fall, volunteers start looking for new bikes to give away over the next year.
We want to thank the volunteers with the Kids Repair Program. You are this week’s Good Neighbors.
If you would like more information on the Kids Repair Program, visit their website at www.kidsrepairprogram.com
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