Where the Rubber Meets the Road for Kalamazoo-area Youth

23 October, 2013

Think back to the very first bike you had as a child.  For many youth, a bike presents the first opportunity to feel freedom and independence as they explore their neighborhood in a new and exciting way.  Ethan Alexander, Executive Director of Open Roads, has taken this childhood experience to a new level.

Founded in 2009, Open Roads is an organization that teaches youth social skills and bike mechanic skills in order to help them be better prepared for their future.  Ethan explains, “We serve about 200 youth a year through various programs and events.  Not only does Open Roads teach bike mechanic skills, the organization ties in these trainings to social skills, which include how to introduce yourself, how to follow directions, and a host of others.  Key to each program are the five ROADS behaviors:  Respect, Ownership of actions, Attitude, Discipline, and Safety.”

Ethan came to Bread for the Journey for funding to support an Open Roads program called Fixapalooza, which is a community event designed “to bring youth, families, volunteers, and community members together in order to share time together and learn how to repair and restore bicycles.”  Key to the Fixapalooza program are the five ROADS behaviors.  Bread for the Journey of Southwest Michigan was pleased to grant $500 to Open Roads to support this very important youth-oriented, community program.