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.
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:

Sep 4, 2013

Venture North's Young Leaders Going New Places

Final Earn-A-Bike cohort of the summer!
Final Earn-A-Bike cohort of the summer!

Dear Friends of Venture North Bike Walk & Coffee,

We hope you’ve been enjoying an active summer like we’ve been! Here at Venture North, programming continues to grow and make a difference in the lives of our young North Minneapolis neighbors. We were even featured in the Twin Cities Daily Planet!

Here are some of the highlights of our development over the summer:

  • Earn-A-Bike Program: Venture North continued the popular Earn-A-Bike class, graduating seven students last week, and eleven more in two earlier summer sessions. By attending courses, students learn about bike repair and maintenance in addition to earning a free bike in the process. Students in this session also received free locks and helmets. Another notable fact: the course was facilitated again by Lucas, a previous graduate of All About Bikes. We’re thankful that Lucas is strengthening his mechanic skills and providing cascading mentoring to our new students. 

  • Pedal Power Girls Group: Thanks to a generous grant from the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, Pedal Power had a successful second summer session. Pedal Power is a program that empowers middle school girls to take leadership in careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Activities included field trips and activities with women in the science field along with activities to work on self esteem and empowerment. The program was five weeks on Saturday mornings.  Some of last summer’s awesome Pedal Power graduates returned to serve as leaders in planning this year's program. We are excited to continue these conversations and opportunities with young women throughout the year.

  • Coffee Bar and Bike Mechanic Apprentices Growing Into Leadership: One of the high school students from the Trade Skills Academy at MTS (Minnesota Transitions Charter School) that we trained in bike repair in a month-long seminar this spring has continued to apprentice at Venture North and mentor young people in the Earn-A-Bike program. A new coffee bar apprentice has graduated high school and will be staying on three days a week this fall to teach new barista apprentices, learn bike mechanics, and be supported to enroll in college through our non-profit sponsor’s Northside Leadership Project. Two bike mechanic apprentices are going back to high school this fall after completing the summer All About Bikes program. All of these apprentices help us bring in and develop new youth leaders in North Minneapolis. 

As fall rolls around and the warm weather bike season comes to a close, join us for delicious warm beverages, friendly neighborhood service and off-season sales that continue to support our youth programs. We’re planning a big bike donation drive on September 29th that will provide the bikes needed to train our newest mechanics in the upcoming winter session of our All About Bikes youth bike mechanic training program. These youth powered bikes will be sold to continue supporting youth empowerment and healthy living in North Minneapolis. Contact Dan Perucco at communications@redeemercenter.org if you’d like to see how your faith community or organization can compete to donate the most bikes this fall! 

We look forward to being able to raise enough funds to offer stipends to young students who need to earn money for their families and education while gaining valuable employment and leadership skills at Venture North. Whether you’ve stopped by for a cup of coffee, donated online, purchased a bike, donated an old bike, or mentioned us to a friend – thank you! All of these things, big and small, help Venture North survive so that we can continue empowering local youth and working towards a healthier, happier neighborhood.

Ride on!

Venture North Bike Walk & Coffee

Links:

Jul 25, 2013

Summer Fun in the Redeemer Community

Campers make a healthy snack
Campers make a healthy snack

Dear Friends of Redeemer Center for Life, 

We're enjoying a beautiful, fun-filled summer in the Harrison Neighborhood! Thank you for taking the time to catch up with us. Over the past few months, Redeemer Center for Life (RCFL) has worked in partnership with Redeemer Lutheran Church and Venture North Bike & Coffee Shop to create some great youth opportunities. Here are some highlights from our most recent adventures:

  • Crunch, Zip, Zoom Summer Camp: Campers and staff had a blast as we tended the Redeemer Urban Garden, learned to make healthy meals, played games, shared stories, rode bikes, went on field trips to Theodore Wirth Park, and strengthened new friendships. With the help of our awesome youth interns, campers also participated in specialized sessions including arts and crafts, music, and basketball. 
  • Weekly Cookouts: Summertime means cookout season in the backyard of Redeemer Lutheran Church. Every Wednesday evening, friends and neighbors gather to share a meal. Crunch, Zip, Zoom campers join the fun by preparing a dish with fresh garden produce. 

This has been a time of growth and renewal in our community. As we've watched our garden thrive, we've also had the privilege of watching young people grow their talents and uncover new strengths. In supporting RCFL, you have been an integral part of making this possible. Thank you. With your help, we can continue empowering and inspiring local youth. 

Fun at Crunch, Zip, Zoom Summer Camp
Fun at Crunch, Zip, Zoom Summer Camp
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