CHILDREN

Who are the children


"What is the breakdown of ethnicities, ages, and socioeconomic status?"

Ethnicities:

    85% African American, 7% Haitian, 6% Caucasian, 2% Native American

Ages:

  • 8 - 19 for the b.i.k.e. program, after which "children" graduate (see "how long do the kids stay with the program").
  • The average age is 14, with the core age group being between 12 and 16
  • For the other programs, please see the "Programs of b.i.k.e." section, which lists ages.

Socioeconomic status:

    Ninety-five percent of the children who participate in the year-round program live in poverty and only have a single parent. They live in the poorer areas of Portland where community resources and positive places to be with prosocial things to do are rare. Without the influence of b.i.k.e., these children would not be as exposed to the cultural centers of Portland as they are, because children in these neighborhoods rarely travel far from them.

"How do the kids come to you?"

    In the beginning, children found the year-round program through a personal relationship with the founder, or through someone who knew him. Shortly thereafter, children came through the community programs like Kids on Bikes or Rollers 101. With the invaluable partnership with Self-enhancement, Inc., referrals have come via their counselors. To become a year-round component team member, a child must demonstrate an interest. For example, if a child only comes to one or two practices, tutoring sessions, or some other element and doesn't show up again, the interest wasn't really there. Once a child commits to b.i.k.e., b.i.k.e. commits to them.

    The Kids on Bikes program is populated primarily from referrals. Other community agencies, parents, or the children themselves help spread the word. Because of the location of the program and our dedication to serving at-risk youth, the majority of the children are minorities from poor communities.

    The Spring Camp is advertised widely. The first edition of the program served a population similar to the year-round program. Future camps will serve a wider population with the goal being that those who are able to pay for it support the expense of those who cannot.

    Rollers 101 serves the population of the community centers where the programs are located, which are poor, primarily ethnic minorities. The same is true for the Jefferson High School program.

"How long do kids stay in the program?"

    With the exception of the year-round component, the programs are finite in length (see program descriptions). For the year-round program, it has served a total of 57 children. Forty children are still with the us and ten have gone beyond the b.i.k.e. program (see cover letter). Seven left prematurely, but, without exception, they never made a commitment lasting longer than a month.

    Once a child graduates from the b.i.k.e. program, they are still on the radar. Sometimes they become part of the Cyclisme team, which is the adult component, while others move into college education, work life, or professional cycling. All of our former children have a connection to the program and to the help and support that characterizes a good team.

"What is the capacity of the program?"

    The year-round component has a maximum of 50 slots. After that, satellite programs would be developed when the funding and the organization is ready.

    The Kids on Bikes program can serve about 200 per cell. b.i.k.e. is currently operating only one cell, but the goal is to eventually broaden that to six locally. The model will then carry forward to other cities and states through a variety of organizations. Note the endorsement letter from US Cycling in the press pack that identifies our program as the national model.

    The School Program is currently being piloted at Jefferson High School. That has gone remarkable well and we are looking into spreading it to a few more schools next year with the same model.

    Rollers 101 is at the right level currently with 150 children per year. With a slightly larger team with more participants trained and more equipment, the program could be expanded to about twice its current size.

    The Spring Camp served 30 children and the same number of adults in the first year. In the Spring of 2002, the program will likely have around 80 child participants total. If Nike strongly supports the program, that number could double.

"What does mentoring look like?"

    Currently, mentoring follows a distributed model. There are the core volunteers (see page 15) who are frequently around and in the children's lives. The adult team members of Cyclisme are also prosocial adult role models. Since the year-round b.i.k.e. program doesn't involve scores of children, it is easier to keep track of who is doing what. Thus, when Madre needs a paper reviewed, whoever is available and has that skill steps in. If Hector is missing team events or his grades are slipping, someone will show up at his house. When the team is on a development ride, the adults have the opportunity to talk with them for a long period time. If someone needs a job to make a little money, yard work crews are arranged.