Over the last 4 years 3-10 senior citizen volunteers have worked with youth at a local Community School, (John Barsby Secondary) mostly with special needs students. The program name reveals that the program is meant to bridge the gap between these generations by offering mentoring and support. The program has included a video club, a baking group, individual tutoring and a bicycle repair club. Due to a lack of funds OpGen is currently offering only the bicycle repair club. All three current volunteers are trained bicycle mechanics; one is provided by our partner organisation, the non-profit Hub City Cycling Cooperative.
The program is proactive. It provides meaningful mentoring and healthy relationship-building, imparting marketable skills. The program has helped motivate some of those students to remain in school who otherwise may not have.
As many of these students lack healthy home support and relationships this program avoids later social, economic, and relationship difficulties that cost us all. Every dollar spent in this program saves many more dollars later in life in saved costs for policing, social services, health care, lost wages and more.
Tyler Walker, who runs the program is a trained Bicycle Mechanic. Both of his volunteers (seniors 55+) are highly experienced in bicycle repair. Former volunteers are likely to return to the program once adequate funding is in place. They include a professional chef, a retired teacher and a number of other professions. The program is open to any senior (55+) and youth attending John Barsby, regardless of ability, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. Our intention is to eventually extend this program to other local schools.
If funded as requested 25 at-risk youth and 10 seniors will benefit by:
- Reduced school drop-out
- Meaningful relationships and activities reduce boredom for seniors and thus reduced health care costs and improved quality of life
- Improved grades leading to higher likelihood of employment and greater workplace productivity
- Enhanced ability to engage in healthy relationships leading to improved marriages, child-rearing and contribution to society
Starting this program is made possible because of the support and partnership with the John Barsby Community School program (http://schools.sd68.bc.ca/bars/), the Hub City Cycling Cooperative (http://hubcitycycles.ca/) , a grant from the Loblaw’s Foundation and many community volunteers.
Now we need your support to keep it going -please help!
Your donations will be used for operational expenses that includes school classroom space; materials (bicycle parts, cooking ingredients, etc.); administrative oversight and support; industry related insurances; and legal and accounting.
 one participant from last year has found employment as a result of discovering his skills in this program