Pathways - Youth Employment Program
All of Bikes Not Bombs programs are run by Youth Employees, program alumni who are trained to teach mechanics lessons, lead group rides and be amazing peer leaders. Youth Employees at Bikes Not Bombs also receive one-on-one mentorship and professional development training in resume and cover letter writing, job interview practice, gender sensitivity and teaching techniques. Teens may also be employed to work with Chain Reaction, BNB's mobile bike shop program.
Youth ages 15-17 are encouraged to apply through the City of Boston's SuccessLink.
The Youth Employees at Bikes Not Bombs focus on three main topics in their work as peer leaders, the environment, bike safety and mechanics.
Youth Programs at Bikes Not Bombs teach young people how to rebuild bikes with recycled parts, and help get youth comfortable using a non-polluting mode of transportation. Our Youth Employees also really love using The Story of Stuff to teach about planned obsolesence, or inviting an organizer from the Alliance for Climate Change to show youth the ways they can help stop global warming.
Every young person who graduates from Earn-A-Bike or Girls In Action goes home with a bicycle AND a helmet. Youth are never allowed on or even near a bicycle without a helmet and our instructors lead them in a safety check before every single ride. Our Youth Employees also know how to make safety education fun. To teach about head injuries they lead BNB's famous Helmet Egg Drop activity in which an egg stands in for a helmet-less rider with some disasterous results. During our Bike Rodeo, Youth Employees teach participants hand signals and emergency stops, skills they have to master before we take them on a ride.
If you've ever seen a large group of youth on bikes, with several wearing bright orange reflective vests, shouting things like, "BIKER BACK," and "CAR UP," then you've seen BNB on a group ride. Some of our favorite spots to ride to are Jamaica Pond, The Arnold Arboretum, and Franklin Park.
Want to see just how cool helmets can be? Check out this video:
From the very first day of a BNB Youth Program, participants get their hands on bikes and tools. They start by stripping a bike, with teams competing to find the smallest, largest, cleanest and dirtiest parts. This is a way for youth to get comfortable with tools, and not worry about messing up the bike they'll eventually take home. Soon, participants move on to tougher skills like flat fixing, overhauling hubs and adjusting brakes and derailleurs. Every lesson that youth participants learn is developed and taught by our Youth Employees, and all of our step-by-step lesson plans can be found in our Earn-A-Bike Training Manual.
Pathways members that work with BNB over the winter will take part in our Advanced Mechanics collaboration with the Bikes Not Bombs Bike Shop. In this program youth will learn more about mechanics, allowing them to be better instructors within Earn-A-Bike and Girls In Action.
Bike Shop Apprenticeship
The BNB Bike Shop also offers an in-depth Apprenticeship for Pathways members who are interested in becoming professional bike mechanics.