Springfield students learn about, earn free bikes

Rene Stratton with Springfield City Schools looks over some of the bikes that are part of the Earn-A-Bike Program. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF

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Rene Stratton with Springfield City Schools looks over some of the bikes that are part of the Earn-A-Bike Program. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF

A program for Springfield students offers them the chance to flex their problem-solving muscles — and earn a free bike in the process.

The reCYCLE program, hosted by The Dome by the Greater Springfield ConnectED Consortium in Springfield, gives children in grades six through eight the opportunity to learn more about bicycles, how they’re constructed and how to fix them. Then at the end of the free six-week course, the students get to keep the bike they’ve worked to fix.

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CareerConnectED Program Director Rene Stratton said it’s an opportunity for students to learn good skills and become more independent in their everyday lives.

“It’s a way to create students who can understand problems and fix problems without relying on other people all the time,” she said. “They learn the tools, they learn how to use them and the fact that they can take the bike home once they take it apart and put it back together is nice, because then it becomes the student’s primary mode of transportation.”

Students are able to work on bicycles donated by the community and those given to the program by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Stratton said. Professional mentors will be on hand to teach students the different parts of the bike, how they function and how to tell if a part is broken.

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Students are challenged to find answers for issues the bikes present, Stratton said, but will be given all the guidance they need to fix everything from chains to tires.

“There’s going to be different problems — it’s not all the same solution,” she said. “They’ll really have to understand what’s causing the issue.”

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The next session is set to begin on Wednesday, March 7, and will meet one day a week for the length of the program. Students who are interested in attending should register by March 6 to register via The Dome's website, http://www.getcareerconnected.org/recycle-bike-program/.

Spots for the upcoming session are limited, but for those who miss the deadline other courses are slated to begin on April 18 and June 6.

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