The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan awards Detroit Eastside Community Collaborative $50,000 to support youth bicycle safety and maintenance training

EAB 1The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (CFSEM) has awarded a $50,000 grant to the Detroit Eastside Community Collaborative (DECC) to help provide Detroit youth an opportunity to earn a bicycle by completing maintenance, safety and repair training.

Detroit’s cycling community has grown significantly and more people are using bike lanes that have been established across the city. DECC is committed to making sure youth learn how to ride safely, properly use a helmet and maintain their equipment.   The objectives of DECC’s Earn-A-Bike program are to teach participants ages 12-16 years old how to repair and maintain bicycles, including how to tune-up and troubleshoot problems with flat tires, spokes, gears, chains, brakes and handle bars.  Additional objectives include teaching youth useful skills, building and supporting self-esteem, highlighting their accomplishments, increasing knowledge about bike safety and greenways and discovering the hidden value in refurbishing used bikes.

“The funding from the CFSEM will provide opportunities to expand one of our areas of interest– helping more youth have access to bicycles and how to use them responsibly. One of the differences in our program compared to others is we take the class to the students. Instead of working out of a shop, we have a mobile system where we can transform just about any room into a bike workshop,” said Alex J. Allen, III, DECC Executive Director. Classes will start in the spring of this year and DECC will partner with Back Alley Bikes, The Friends of Parkside, Mt. Elliott Makers Space and other Detroit Eastside organizations serving youth to make programming available for 150 participants.

The Detroit Eastside Community Collaborative was founded in 1992 as a consortium of community development organizations and institutions dedicated to revitalizing Detroit’s Eastside. The mission is to transform the Eastside of Detroit by creating active greenways that connect people and communities.

DECC’s signature project is the Conner Creek Greenway (CCG), which is a planned nine-mile biking and walking path from Eight Mile south along Conner to the Detroit River. The goals of the CCG are to provide connectivity among Eastside neighborhoods, give people safe and easy access to the environment, promote healthier lifestyles, improve air and water quality, increase the natural habitat, provide incentives for economic development and overall enhance the quality of life. To date, DECC has constructed six miles of the nine-mile path, resulting in over $3 million in public improvements, using secured funds from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Michigan Department of Transportation and Wayne County.