Venture North Bike Walk Center

The fundamental and critical purpose of Venture North Bike Walk Center and Basset Creek Bike Works is to create the opportunity in North Minneapolis for community economic development through jobs and job training in bike shop retail and mechanics. Venture North Bike Walk Center serves children, families and adults who reside in or visit our community by providing biking and walking retail services together with other activity-based educational offerings that will enhance the health and wellbeing of those who are drawn to our center.
Jan 13, 2014

Winter Brings a Flurry of Activity at Redeemer

Selecting gifts at the Christmas Store
Selecting gifts at the Christmas Store

Even though the temperatures outside have plummeted, Redeemer Center is busier than ever: our youth programs are thriving, our housing is at capacity, and Venture North Bike Shop is filled with customers and apprentice mechanics. Here are a few snapshots of life at Redeemer this winter: 

In December, Redeemer held its annual Christmas store. 120 kids lined up to purchase gifts for 25 cents each for their friends and families. The day included an open mic featuring the incredible talent of our youth; a bicycle-rinding Santa; dozens of high school elves to help kids shop; and a busy workshop of present-wrapping. Dozens upon dozens of volunteers from Redeemer's partner congregations showed up to experience the infectious joy of children who find just the right gift for a loved one. E.J, one of our after school program kids, embodied that joy and excitement. “Put the perfume in that pink bag because it’s for my mom,” he excitedly told a volunteer who helped him wrap his gifts. “And that football is for my brother, so make sure it’s wrapped in red or blue.” E.J  could barely contain himself as he left Redeemer into the winter snow holding his newly purchased gifts. 

Venture North is also in the spirit of giving. Within the next 6 months, Venture north will  hold a record-breaking 19 Earn-a-Bike classes to distribute 150 free bikes to local kids! Participants spend a 5 hour session learning about bicycle safety and repair. At the end of the session, kids are rewarded for their hard work with a free bike! 

The 15 members of the Northside Leadership Project have weathered their first few months at Redeemer splendidly and are already valued members of our community. Joe Davis, our poet-in-residence and youth staff member, moved here from Minot, North Dakota in October. Even though he had never lived away from home before, he jumped right into things at Redeemer, performing at open mics, recruiting kids for our programming, and helping out with the after school program. (Check out the youtube link below to see the commercial for Venture North that he made with the kids!) When asked how he has been impacted by Redeemer, Joe explains, ”I have gained a greater appreciation for diversity and the sharing of different values and perspectives. I've also experienced affirmation about my vocation, propose, and passion, as they all are becoming increasingly one and the same. “

And so in these dark months, Redeemer continues to shine as a beacon of hope to our neighbors. And our neighbors reflect that light back to us as they engage in our expansive community that welcomes all as they are. 

Joe Davis entertains parents while kids shop
Joe Davis entertains parents while kids shop
Wrapping gifts
Wrapping gifts
The Martinez family performs "Feliz Navidad"
The Martinez family performs "Feliz Navidad"

Links:

Dec 6, 2013

Meet Dao from Nov/Dec All About Bikes class

Fall Earn-A-Bike graduate Kieara
Fall Earn-A-Bike graduate Kieara

Dear Friends of Venture North Bike Walk & Coffee, 

On Wednesday, November 13, 2013 eight new bike mechanic apprentices from the Northside, ages 14-17, embarked on their very first All About Bikes training course. Over 9 weeks and 64 hours, the young mechanics involved in the program will study bicycle history; bicycle vocabulary, parts, and materials; and proper bicycle adjustment, eventually progressing to bicycle repair and bike building. Students are also learning how to share their personal strengths to arrive at a common goal and practice customer service and relationship building skills.

One of these new bike mechanic apprentices is 16-year-old Dao. Dao goes to Patrick Henry High School in North Minneapolis, where he learned about All About Bikes from his case manager. Dao "needed a job and this seemed like a good start." So far, he's enjoying meeting kids from other schools while getting his hands greasy at Venture North and learning a bunch of bike vocabulary. Dao said he looks forward to getting a better career thanks to the things he’s learning here and wants to also help other kids get in the shop, "help them learn how to do some of the bike repairs like chains and brakes and show them why this place is cool." 

With your help, we were able to graduate 10 students from the Earn-A-Bike program this fall. Check out this November 5th article in the Star Tribune featuring 13-year-old Kieara, one of the young people who earned their bike this fall. Thanks to great publicity and a fall bike donation drive we've been able to collect over 100 used bikes. Donated bikes are the training ground for the 16 bike mechanic apprentices that will complete the All About Bikes class this winter and will supply 150 Earn-A-Bike students in 2014 with a bike and the experience to begin a lifetime of biking. 

What's next for Venture North? In addition to running All About Bikes and Earn-a-Bike courses educating youth and community about biking, we are preparing to gear up in 2014 for fun events, rides and partnerships with local schools and organizations that develop and showcase the leadership of youth in North Minneapolis. You can find out more about our community events, programs, and services on our website, http://venturenorthbwc.org/, or on our facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/venturenorthbwc. 

Thank you for your ongoing support and enthusiasm as we continue to help young leaders develop their strengths and their neighborhood!

 

Fall Earn-A-Bike graduate Jasmine
Fall Earn-A-Bike graduate Jasmine
Fall Earn-A-Bike graduate Victor
Fall Earn-A-Bike graduate Victor

Links:

Oct 22, 2013

Young Leaders Thrive on the Northside

Trevon Thompson
Trevon Thompson

This month, Redeemer celebrates the kickoff of the Northside Leadership Project. With 24 housing units, Redeemer is moving beyond simply providing affordable housing for those in need. Beginning in August, Redeemer welcomed a dozen new young adults to the Harrison neighborhood to serve as leaders in the community. The Northside Leadership Project's mission is to unleash young people to share their unique gifts and passions, to organize for change in their communities, and to live out a strong commitment to racial equity. We so strongly believe in the importance of living in community with those we work with, that these young folks uprooted themselves and moved into the neighborhood. That is a passionate kind of committment. But these young adults aren't here to simply live in the neighborhood; they each serve in a range of projects hosted by Redeemer. Here are just some of the ways that these young folks are engaging in the community:

  • Redeemer After School Program: Held each Monday and Wednesday from 3:00 - 6:30 pm, the Redeemer After School Program provides tutoring, meals, and enrichment classes for 30 first through eigth graders. Young adults share talents with participants that include how to rap, cook, community organizing skills, piano lessons, and a whole host of other activities. Through all of this, kids are encouraged to become leaders in their communities while pursuing their interests and passions. 
  • Venture North Bike Shop: Redeemer's bike shop, Venture North, provides job skill training through the vehicle of bicycle repair. Teenagers from the neighborhood work as paid apprentices, learning to repair bikes while developing lasting work skills that will transfer to other opportunities. Through the Earn-A-Bike program, youth are able to earn their own bike in exchange for learning basic safety and repair skills. 
  • Young Adult Worship: To contribute to Redeemer's already vibrant faith community, young adults involved in the Northside Leadership Program have organized a monthly young adult worship service that caters to the tastes and interests of young adults of faith.
  • Urban Gardening: Members of the Northside Leadership Program work in Redeemer's garden to grow incredible amounts of produce and then cook them in tasty ways to serve at the afterschool program. (You wouldn't believe how much 11-year-olds could love kale chips.) Participants in the afterschool program are guided by these young adults to learn the skills of gardening and healthy food preparation.

The Northside Leadership Project is not about one-sided service; as our young leaders live and work in the neighborhood, they are supported by the reciprocal relationships that this community provides. An inspiring testament to the impact of the project is Trevon Thomson, a recent graduate from North Community High School in North Minneapolis. Three years ago, after his previous church closed, he became involved with Redeemer through the Redeemer After School Program and the Redeemer JUMP Crew, a hip-hop performing arts ensemble. This year he started working at Venture North Bike Walk & Coffee as an apprentice barista and bike mechanic. While helping construct Redeemer's affordable housing duplex, Trevon became interested in pursuing college and work in mechanical engineering or construction. The Northside Leadership Project is an important first stepping-stone for Trevon to achieve those goals. “It’s gonna be a lot of responsibility, living on my own,” he said. But he also recognizes that he will be supported in taking on this challenge through the Northside Leadership Project, explaining, “I’m looking forward to meeting all the new people who will live here this year.” Trevon is ready to develop the next generation of young leaders in the neighborhood through the apprentice program at Venture North and the Redeemer JUMP Crew, “so that it continues for a long time.” 

To help continue Redeemer's work with the Northside Leadership Project, consider giving a donation. Your money will go towards the after school program's operational costs as well as subsidizing housing so that these young adults can pour themselves into the community with a smaller finicial burden. 

As always, peace to you from the Redeemer community!

 

Young adults help out at annual block party
Young adults help out at annual block party
Youth learn all about bike repair
Youth learn all about bike repair

Links:

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