WHO WE ARE
The Urban Youth Bike Corps is a non-profit youth program designed specifically to use the sport of cycling as a vehicle to support injury prevention and to enrich the lives of Harlem's youth. Our program is offered year-round, four days a week and weekends. As cycling is a seasonal sport so is our program; therefore we offer a variety of indoor and outdoor activities that vary with the seasons.
WHAT WE DO
The UYBC has opened a full service bike shop which serves as our headquarters and primary training center. This facility allows the UYBC to provide our members with first hand experience in bike mechanics, retail merchandising, bicycle renting and touring. In addition to the bike shop, we retain a space at the St. Mark's United Methodist Church, (we are not church affiliated), located in the heart of Harlem, which serves as our winter training facility and clubhouse. While school is in session, our members are encouraged to join us after school for indoor training and academic tutoring.
Corps members are required to enroll in an intensive UYBC Bike Mechanics course. Through this activity our members have the opportunity to learn a skill they can carry with them throughout their adult lives. We are able to offer this program through the assistance of local bike mechanics who have agreed to volunteer their time to our young people. In turn, our youth members will share their skill and experience with the community by way of bike safety clinics and bike fix up days.
A long term goal of this program is to help our youth members become talented bikers with solid skills in bike mechanics and bike related topics. By becoming competent in these areas, it is expected that our members will gain confidence; and thereby become candidates for employment and internships.
BIKE SAFETY WORKSHOPS
Bike Smarts Curriculum The "Bike Smarts" curriculum is our primary teaching tool for bike safety. We offer these workshops seasonally so all members have the opportunity to act as bike safety advocates in their schools and communities. Road, Mountain, BMX: Riding & Racing We support all our cyclists in learning how to ride, race, and train on mountain, BMX and road bikes; as their skill level improves, we encourage our cyclists to compete for local and national recognition. To date one of our cyclists has achieved a top 20 ranking in New York State.
PERSONAL GROWTH SEMINARS
In an attempt to enrich the lives of our young people, we have developed the concept of personal growth seminars. In essence, these activities introduce our members to issues, topics, and places we think are important to their development as well rounded people.
The goal of this program is to have the youths serve as representatives of the biking community in West and Central Harlem. It is our hope that through interaction with area biking events and teaching bike safety skills our youth members will gain a strong sense of accomplishment, pride, and self-esteem. It is this type of positive reinforcement that will strengthen their sense of self and will make them achievers in the community.
HOW YOU MAY HELP
To date, we are a totally grant funded program. You may contribute to our program's growth in the following ways:
HOW DO I GET INVOLVED?
If you have any questions about the program, please call Landon H. Wickham, Erik Cliette, or Benjamin Anagnos at 212-939-4005. If we are not available, please leave a message with your name, number and address.
URBAN YOUTH BIKE CORPS OUR ADDRESS:
Urban Youth Bike Corps Harlem Hospital Injury Prevention Program Harlem Hospital Center 506 Lenox Avenue, KP17102 New York, New York 10037 Tel: 212-939-4005
The Urban Youth Bike Corps (UYBC) encourages kids to take to the streets -- on bicycles that is. The nonprofit program offers Harlem's youth a unique blend of academics, bikes, and business with an emphasis on personal growth. The Corps has approximately 65 youth members, with 35 that are seriously committed to both cycling and the other goals of the program, according to Erik Cliette, one of three program directors. Most of the kids find out about the UYBC through the New York Cyclist, the bike shop operated by UYBC, word of mouth from members and their parents, and recruiting efforts at local churches and community groups.
During the school year, UYBC meets three days a week from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the UYBC Club House, otherwise known St. Mark's United Methodist Church located in the heart of Harlem. (The group is not church affiliated.) For the first hour and a half the Club House is transformed into a study hall where kids can complete homework with few distractions and receive assistance or tutoring from UYBC staff. The second hour and a half is dedicated to bicycles: a bike repair course taught by volunteer mechanics, indoor training, and safety awareness.
UYBC members have the opportunity to apply their bike mechanic skills and get first hand experience in retail merchandising, bicycle rental, and touring at New York Cyclist, UYBC's full service bike shop which has become an established business in the community. All of the bike shop's profits go towards supporting UYBC and its activities.
Many of UYBC's activities, whether it is on a bike or off, revolve around attempting to enrich the lives of the young members by introducing them to new ideas, people, and places. UYBC's summer calendar is booked with personal growth seminars including a visit to a Smithsonian exhibit in New York, weekly computer training sessions, a trip to Montauk Long Island, and a Youth Education Conference. These seminars complemented by the fun of biking and the self-esteem gained through learning how to repair a bike or improved grades, are meant to broaden the horizons of Harlem's youth.
Erik Cliette explains this goal, "We at UYBC believe exposure is nine-tenths of the answer. If we can expose our children to enough different and interesting people and activities, they will begin to dream, when they begin to dream they will start to reach for those things they find interesting and as they reach they will grow. Our mission is to make sure our children grow up and become healthy, functioning adults."
The local alumni chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the oldest African American Greek Organization, is contributing to this goal by adopting UYBC as its official little brother group. The alumni provide the youth with a familiar circle of positive mentors and role models, focusing on special projects such as conflict resolution training and Alpha Phi Alpha's national stay in school education program.
Bicycle safety is another large component of UYBC and this year two members, Richard Hunter and Omar Gonzalez, were selected as the National Safe Kids America Challenge National Grand Prize Winners for their work as bicycle safety advocates. With the guidance of UYBC staff, the youth developed a bicycle safety presentation that taught young people in area the concepts of traffic safety and the importance of wearing a bicycle helmet. The presentation was shared with schools and community organizations. As grand prize recipients, Omar and Richard were invited to present their work in Washington, DC and accept their award.
UYBC has many exciting future plans to continue to expand the experience level and involvement of it members. There is talk of constructing a bike park that would be a safe haven for kids to enjoy bikes, roller-skating, and skateboarding. Ideally, UYBC members would become partners in the operation and maintenance of the park, providing input in the design and construction of the park, and, of course, offering bike repairs and safety clinics. In addition, Erik Cliette dreams of taking the kids to West Africa for their spring break to gain international perspective and riding down the scenic Pacific Coast Highway next summer.
These are golden dreams for a grant funded, nonprofit organization, so UYBC is always looking for sponsors and donations of new and used bicycles and biking gear. If you would rather give your time, they are interested in talented tutors and experienced bicycle coaches.
For further information please contact Erik Cliette at 212/939-4005--as he is often out riding with the kids feel free to leave a message or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This piece tells the over all story of the HHIPP
The Harlem Hospital Injury Prevention Program (IPP) has expanded a problem-specific program into a broad-based community development program that addresses the wellness of the young residents of Harlem and its surrounding neighborhoods. The program was formally established in 1988, but Dr. Barbara Barlow, chief of pediatric surgery and founder of this multifaceted initiative, had been focusing on prevention since the mid-1970s. At that time, a trauma database was established to collect data on the causes of injury among children.
Soon thereafter, a campaign was launched to enforce the law regarding the installation of window guards in apartment buildings and to educate parents and children.
In the late 1980s, IPP activities mushroomed, and today the program continues to identify innovative ways of improving the lives of children from birth through adolescence. Barlow maintains that people have always been interested and willing to help IPP because the program listens to the community. In this case listening to the children, parents, and other community-based organizations has resulted in the emergence of a diverse constituency. This group has been actively involved in defining and refining the needs of the population on an ongoing basis.
Collaborators saw the initial success of their efforts when they engaged the attention of city and school officials as well as politicians about the lack of safe playgrounds in Harlem. Sustained community interest and the tireless fund-raising of Barlow and her staff have provided IPP with many new partners and resources, both local and national, during the past six years. As each organization and individual commits to specific program activities, there emerges the join responsibility of achieving the goal, in other words, community accountability for injury prevention and wellness.