Jack the Bike Man: Where used bikes become useful transportation
by The Palm Beach Post - Jack the Bike Man is a not for profit organization founded by Samuel H. “Jack” Hairston III in 2007, however Jack has been called Jack the Bike Man, since 1999. Throughout the year, Jack the Bike Man gives away thousands of bikes to underprivileged kids, the homeless, women reentering society from prison, recovering addicts in halfway houses and people living below the poverty line. For more than 20 years, Jack the Bike Man has fixed bikes and handed them out to needy children and adults in the area, especially around the holidays. All of this is made possible with the help of volunteers and contributions.
How does Jack the Bike Man benefit the community?
We benefit the community by providing free bicycles and helmets to children and adults in need of transportation through various programs,including an after-school program that teaches bike safety, bike repair and bike maintenance. We repair bicycles at our warehouse, which contains more than a dozen repair stations and thousands of bicycle parts, and provide community service hours to students and adults who learn basic bicycle mechanics. We also promote environmental sustainability by keeping used bikes out of the landfill, repairing them, using parts for other bikes and recycling those bikes that are unusable.
What is your agency’s focus for 2017?
We continue to expand our reach to the community through work with the women’s reentry program, among others, and always provide bikes to the disadvantaged in exchange for volunteer work in our shop. Our new Mobile Bike Unit is almost completed and will start to visit the schools in our area very soon. The annual Christmas party will happen as usual with our hopes of providing 1,400 bikes or more for the kids. We are having a 10th anniversary dinner party at the Sailfish Club in Palm Beach on Dec. 16, and we are planning a golf tournament in early 2018.
How can the community help?
The community’s need for bicycles is never-ending, as is the organization’s need for funding, volunteers and used bikes that technicians can overhaul. The popularity of the organization has grown, and with it, the costs. Jack the Bike Man drives all over the county collecting bikes or donations of parts. We could use your help: Contributions of money, time, and bikes are needed to keep Jack the Bike Man rolling.
To strengthen our community through bicycle education and safety programs. Our vision is to create a community of healthy active individuals by providing hope to the less fortunate through support, training, and access to bicycles.
The Christmas Give: What we’re best known for – an annual giveaway of more than 1,400 refurbished bikes and helmets to children from economically challenged families.
Bicycle Donations: We supply free youth bikes to schools, nonprofits, community organizations and churches who request our assistance.
Earn-a-Bike Project: For adults and kids, this volunteer opportunity serves as a pathway for individuals to work 15 to 20 hours in our warehouse in order to earn a bike.
Gotta Get a Bike: This four-week after-school program teaches bicycle repair and safety. Participants earn a bike at the conclusion of the session.
Character Counts: Through a partnership with local elementary schools in the School District of Palm Beach County, we recognize students for their exemplary character. We provide a free bicycle and helmet to a student each month that has demonstrated one of the six pillars of character that is showcased for that month at the school.
Community Service: We can always use help in our warehouse! Students in need of community service hours are welcome, as is any Palm Beach County resident or snowbird. We also partner with the Drug Court of the 15th Judicial Circuit of Florida and the Palm Beach Probation Office.
Women’s Reentry Work Experience Training: In partnership with The Lord’s Place, Jack the Bike Man provides this three-month-long training program for women who were released from the justice system. Upon successful completion, the women earn a bicycle, helmet, repair kit and safety lock.
Bike Registration: We assist the West Palm Beach Police Department in registering every bicycle that is sold or given away. This registration provides the West Palm Beach Department with the necessary information so that if your bike is ever stolen, they have a record of the serial number when you call to make a report. This program is designed to aid in the recovery of lost or stolen bicycles.
JACK THE BIKE MAN, 2406 Florida Ave., West Palm Beach, FL 33401. 561-832-0072; www.jackthebikeman.org
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