Bikes for the World

Monday, June 6, 2016

Boys Will Be Boys

Pinelands Creative Workshop (PCW) began as a way to engage and educate some of the most under-served residents of Barbados. Situated on the border of the Pinelands community, PCW was poised to make a difference and change lives for the better.

PCW's initial efforts mainly included a focus on theatre and the arts. In this way, the organization was able to enlist the community to participate in productions while exploring topics of the day in a unique and engaging way.

Since its beginning in the seventies, PCW has undergone many transformations over the decades to include skills and life training programs for many residents in the community. They now offer computer classes, self defense classes, career preparedness programs, life skills activities, and summer youth camps in addition to their original focus on arts and sports.

In 2005, PCW added bike mechanics to that growing list of training options. By partnering with Bikes for the World, PCW also added a little capital to the program. After fixing up our donated bikes, PCW sold refurbished bikes at a low cost to the community which helped fund their growing Meals on Wheels program.

More notably, this newly added bike program helped make PCW much more relevant by adding an important development platform for youth. Boys were lining up to join this program, earn a little pocket money, learn about bikes, and gain experience using tools while learning a skill.

Zidane, Michausa, Nathaniel, and Stephen
Zidane, Michausa, and Nathaniel joined the bike program a couple years ago. They are trained by Ronald and Stephen who see the program has much more to offer than just revenue generated to help fund programs:

There are softer and more long term benefits for the young men we work with. They learn about respect for people and property, about managing time and finishing a job in the best way they can, they learn about conflict resolution and they learn to take pride in their work and after all the work is done they feel proud to see a person walk out with a bike that they worked on.

Danny at work
Before boys had this outlet at PCW, Ronald says he often saw fights breaking out between the adolescents. Now they can direct their energy into something more productive. 

Danny’s mom was especially impressed with her son’s enthusiasm and dedication during the time he was with the bicycle initiative; she confessed that he was excited about going to work and that his new-found responsibility infected the rest of his life. He was more active at home and around the house and he was ready and willing to take on new tasks. It was like the experience matured him, he was a “serious” young man.

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