Bikes for the World

Monday, November 13, 2017

My Time, My Ride, My Choice

In 2015 Bikes for the World sent our first container of bikes to the established Moroccan program known as DARNA (Our House). DARNA was started, and continues to operate as a safe home for women and children.

Recognizing a mother's role in a strong, thriving family, DARNA put emphasis on creating opportunities and training for women and young girls. To assist in the effort to keep kids enrolled in school, DARNA introduced bicycles to those students at risk of dropping out due to long, tiring commutes.

From our initial donation, over 400 students received bicycles in northern Morocco. 117 of these student beneficiaries were girls.

This summer Bikes for the World helped place another container of bikes with DARNA through St. Louis Bicycle Works. Bicycle Works operates a youth program in St. Louis and a couple times a year finds itself with an overstock of bikes for their program.

When they approached us this year to place another container we identified the need from Morocco and found St. Louis had the type of bikes requested. It was a match!

This shipment arrived late in September and students have already been paired with bikes. This time, the bikes were distributed among nearly 40 different communities and the kids ranged in age from 8-17.

We checked back in with several of the students who received bikes from the first donation in 2015. Laila (on the left) loves her bike because she can go to school with her friends. Her mom agrees, noticing that since her daughter received a bike her grades have improved. Laila now has more time to study and arrives to school early and less tired.

Miriem (on the right) uses her bike to visit her Grandmother who lives far away. She can now travel that distance on her own schedule, without needing to wait for public transportation which can also be expensive. "I feel much more independent now."

Miriem also enjoys the physical exercise her bike provides. "I feel like a bird, I love it!"

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Update From Morocco

Bikes of the World is excited to announce that we have placed a second container of bikes with one of our newer partners established in 2015.

DARNA (meaning Our House) operates in northern Morocco helping to give a leg up to the under served population of the region. Our bikes were introduced to the program in 2015 in an effort to empower students.

Our first container was distributed among four different school districts to help students remain in school by easing their long commutes which had previously been done on foot.

In August of this year, we shipped a second container to DARNA with the help of sister organization St. Louis Bicycle Works. The bikes were reconditioned and donated to more than 40 villages near Jebel Bouhachem Nature Reserve.

Tarik and Anas
Tarik and Anas live just outside the bustling city of Tangier in northern Morocco.  Both guys received bikes from our first donated container a couple years ago.

Tarik told us that his bicycle is very important to him because he could not afford to pay for transportation. From his home in Ziaten, Tangier is about a 90 minute walk.

Now that he has a bike, he reports better attendance in school. He also said he now signs up for more training programs offered through school because he knows he can get there.

Physically Tarik now finds himself in better shape, which he knows is important to his overall health. He is also very proud to own a bicycle and says, "having a bicycle makes me more independent!"

Friday, November 3, 2017

Featured Volunteer: Nick & Sarah

Yvette, Nick, and Sarah saying goodbye and good luck
We are proud to honor our own Nick and Sarah this month as our featured volunteer(s). It goes without saying that Nick gave so much to Bikes for the World over his four year tenure with us-and even from St. Louis, he's still giving.

When Nick started at BfW back in 2010 we were still operating under the umbrella of WABA without an official board. Nick's position didn't even exist before him. And look at us now!

When Nick came on board, he took over operations, managing the loadings, pick ups, and covering nearly every weekend of collections. It felt like the guy never had a day off...until August when we wouldn't see him for a month.

Shady Grove haul with Stone Ridge students
Nick helped establish our relationship with Stone Ridge back when the school first joined forces with us in 2012 and there were only two students. Nick helped expand that program, tripling the number the following year and adding the mechanic component that allows us to salvage usable parts off otherwise unusable bikes.

Nick also oversaw half a dozen storage sites for BfW, many of them at the same time. He was there when the first Dick's Sporting Goods trailer delivered bikes to our Lorton warehouse and there when the last came into our Arlington warehouse.

Who needs a ladder when you have a table
Nick was the muscle behind our loadings and pick ups. He also helped establish some of the organizational practices we still employ today. More importantly Nick engaged with our donors, supporters, and volunteers with an attitude that never let on that he was overworked and understaffed. Nick always got the job done...with a smile on his face.

He mentored our weekly volunteer night out at King Farm which provided many SSL hours to students in Montgomery County. Nick was also joined by several older volunteers who came every week to help strip parts or exchange the latest beer recipes with home brewer Nick.

Sarah with her students from Eastern HS
And we cannot overlook Sarah who came with Nick to the DC area and ended up marrying him. Sarah also loves bikes and is passionate about our mission at BfW. On several occasions, even after Nick left BfW, Sarah would bring her students to a loading for service hours and to provide an important lesson about community and helping on a global level.

We also appreciate the support Sarah gave Nick while he served as Operations Manager for BfW. She sacrificed quite a bit, with the long hours and sometimes seven-days-a-week schedule Nick often held.

"I was very impressed with Nick's work ethic and dedication to the organization and its mission," said long time volunteer Ken Woodard of Stone Ridge. He added that Nick had a great knowledge of bikes and how they work and could relay that expertly in language that made sense to any new 'mechanic'.

 Last year the Nick and Sarah Combo took off for a great adventure in St. Louis. They would soon be two of the founding members of Arcana Distilling which is starting to really take shape. Instead of hauling a trailer full of bikes Nick is now moving antique cathedral windows for their new warehouse.

They are firming up architectural plans on the old 1950s American Legion Hall that will soon hold their barrels filled with locally grown and produced Whiskeys and Brandys. If you are ever in St. Louis, you should stop in for snifter.

And speaking of St. Louis...Nick is actually the guy who connected us to Bicycle Works in St. Louis, where he now occasionally volunteers.

Bicycle Works loading crew in August
BWorks works in the community refurbishing old bikes and teaching kids about bikes and tools. They also occasionally end up with a container full of bikes to donate to one of our global partners. This past August they helped us out by supplying over 400 bikes to one of our newest partners, DARNA in Morocco.

For their first container donation back in 2012, Nick went out to St. Louis to show them the ins and outs to loading. Since then they have donated thousands of bikes to our partners around the world. And this last loading was extra special with Nick on hand to help once again. THANK YOU NICK for everything; WE MISS YOU!