Bikes Not Bombs
Learning to Lead


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Youth Apprentice Syianne H., age 18, was drawn to working on bikes from a young age. Years before they came to Bikes Not Bombs (BNB), Syianne’s father taught them about bike mechanics: “My father taught me what things are on a bike, how to fix it, and that’s how I knew that I loved working with my hands.” After refreshing their skills in BNB’s winter Advanced Mechanics course with fellow Youth Apprentices, it was Syianne’s turn to teach.

Close up photograph of Syianne, showing them smiling at the camera
Youth Apprentice Syianne H.

“It was my first class ever to teach and I was of course scared, but I had fun with it. Everybody made me comfortable, I knew what I was going to do, I wasn’t lost. And whatever I needed help on, they just jumped right in and helped me, and I love that.”

Photo of Syianne at a balance bike class with 8 young children on bikes.
Syianne pictured with their fellow instructors and students at a balance bike class

Over the summer, Syianne also participated in a series of balance-bike lessons, teaching young children how to ride a bike. “It was just really cool to see little kids learning how to ride a bike, because that reminds me of what my father was teaching me.”

As a BNB Youth Apprentice, Syianne now helps teach foundational Bike School programming to their peers, reinforcing and expanding their own knowledge of bike mechanics, as well as gaining experience as a leader.

Creating Opportunities for Growth

Bikes Not Bombs uses the bicycle as a vehicle for social change to achieve economic mobility for Black and other marginalized people in Boston and the Global South. To achieve this, we:

  • Employ young people as Youth Apprentices;
  • Engage hundreds of youth and adults in our Bike School programming;
  • Provide free bike repair events to Boston families, and;
  • Process thousands of donated bikes for sale in our mission-driven bike shop, for donation to people experiencing economic hardship, for use in our youth programs, and for shipment to international partners in the Global South.
Syianne stands in front of a crowd of speakers at a microphone.
Syianne speaking at a City of Boston press conference announcing new Bluebikes access

Youth Pathways at Bikes Not Bombs

Most youth start their journey at BNB with a Bike School program, where they learn basic bike maintenance, mechanics, and safe riding skills. Graduates are eligible to advance to a paid Youth Apprenticeship at BNB, working alongside professional staff and peers. Youth explore a range of career pathways while gaining skills in mechanics, organizing, and teaching.

When asked what aspects of BNB they would like to take with them in the future, Syianne highlighted leadership. “I can see myself teaching kids how to fix things. I just want to find youth who love to work with their hands, with their minds, with their creativity.”

Your gift to BNB supports pathways to youth leadership!