Teaching young people about how to work on bikes and ride them with confidence is the bread-and-butter of many cycling-related nonprofit groups. At the Community Cycling Center, they take that idea one step further by using bicycles as the centerpiece of a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum.
The CCC has led a STEM bicycle mechanic program since 2015 at two local alternative secondary schools: Rosemary Anderson Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center (POIC) in north Portland and Helensview High School in northeast. In keeping with the CCC’s mission, they focus on schools that serve low-income youth and students of color who face barriers in traditional educational environments. The classes use hands-on lessons that give students confidence and training they can apply to life beyond high school. So far over 65 students have participated.
Now the program is set to expand even further afield with a new class in Woodburn. CCC will add Lord High School at McLaren Youth Correctional Facility to their STEM education program.
In a recent email to CCC members, the group’s executive director Kasandra Griffin said, “As with the first two schools, we need to customize our approach based on the unique needs of the school. For example, students there are not allowed to earn bikes to keep, so instead they will be working on bikes for us to give away through the Holiday Bike Drive and our after school Bike Clubs.”
Griffin says that less than two months into the new class, “We are already seeing strong results through attendance and student engagement.” Learn more about the CCC’s STEM program on their website.
In related news, the CCC has announced their intention to move their office and warehouse (not their retail shop in Alberta street) further east. Currently located at NE 2nd and Schuyler (near Broadway/Williams), Griffin says, “As more of our program activities move into East Portland – following the communities that are being priced out of inner North and Northeast – we have started looking for a new spot, closer to the communities we serve.”
This will be great for the CCC and for Portland We need more cycling-related support resources east of 82nd. If you’ve got any leads or real estate connections in that part of town, please contact email@example.com. They need about 1,000 square feet of office space, 2,500 square feet for bike storage, and maybe event space for a new retail shop!
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
— Get our headlines delivered to your inbox.
— Support this independent community media outlet with a one-time contribution or monthly subscription.
If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at email@example.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.
We’re trying to establish a similar program here in Greensboro NC. Aside from fund raising, the biggest issue we’ve had here is that black and latinx youth here are literally afraid to pass through other neighborhoods to get to the training location (fear of getting shot by rival gangs or being perceived as belonging to a rival gang). Have you had similar issues? If so, how did you work about them?
@David Hampsten: We offer our program in alternative high schools, during school time, for enrolled students. So while some students are gang affected, the program is in places that they are already going — we just help motivate them to go a little more frequently!
Kasandra, thank you for response, this is helpful.
No rival gangs here. All our gangs get along with one another.
Thanks for the great coverage, Jonathan! Here’s a little more about the program and the staff, for readers who want to know more: https://communitycyclingcenter.org/new-school-and-new-staff-for-our-stem-program/