The Bike Bunch

BY Melissa Bissonnette

Waypoint Academy

Project Description
The Bike Bunch project is about teaching at-risk students a useful new skill, helping them gain confidence through succeeding in both physical and mental challenges and getting them outside doing a physical activity. Students learn basic bike repair and maintenance by fixing up bikes that are currently in disrepair. Once bikes are fixed and students learn to ride safely, they are taken on group rides through the woods or on the canal bike path. At the end of the school year students have the opportunity to “buy” the bike they worked on with their token from the token economy already set up at the school. The program gives students a sense of ownership over something, builds their confidence and gets them doing physical activity outside. The students at Waypoint are at a higher risk of engaging in risky behaviors, but giving them the knowledge, tools and supplies to fix bikes and enjoy a hobby like bike riding could keep them away from risky behaviors.

How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)
When students feel confident they are less likely to get frustrated and exhibit negative behaviors that are common for students at Waypoint. The students then have a positive association towards school and learning and could enjoy school more.

Benefit to the students and the school
Waypoint Academy is an Alternative Education Program for students who were not able to be successful in a normal education setting usually due to Emotional/Behavioral Disorders. At Waypoint, learning social and relationship skills is the priority. In the Bike Bunch program, success looks like happy students who have just accomplished fixing something, learned something and have the enjoyment of a successful group physical activity. For most of our students, these feeling and activities are not ones they get very often due to traumatic pasts, home life, or other issues outside of school. Staff and students ride together in an organized safe group, building the team mentality. Success is also measured by each student completely repairing bikes that were
previously un-rideable.

Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable)
The program is in its second year and is rapidly gaining popularity. It could extend on for years to come and serve more students.