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What Needs Does  Second Chance Bikes Address?
Refugees need bikes!
Working poor need bikes!
Homeless need bikes!
Kids love bikes!
Various refugee resettletment agencies do a wonderful job getting refugees from many countries settled in their new homes in the western suburbs of Chicago; they provide ongoing support such as job training, English classes; counseling, and much more. They receive donations of furniture and other much-needed items to set up apartments for the newcomers. Other agencies provide assistance to non-refugees in need - food pantries, job search help, donated clothing, etc. 
bike image We have learned from work volunteering with both types of agencies that refugees take VERY seriously  the  terms and conditions  they agreed to for placement in the US. They want jobs, and will take whatever they can find. These are typically minimum-wage due to language barriers, even if the individual has some skills such as mechanic, electrician, etc. Many non-refugees who have hit hard times are just the same - looking for any work they can get.
Transportation can be a big challenge for newcomers who do not yet have  a car or driver's license. Oftentimes a job opportunity is too far to walk to and not accessible via public transportation. Case workers and volunteers help people to learn and utilize  what public transportation is available.  Volunteers provide help with transportation, particularly for critical issues like doctor appointments but also for ESL classes, even for shopping. But getting people to work on a daily basis is typically out of scope for what volunteers can support. In these situations a bicycle  can be a huge enabler.
 And of course a bike is usually a youngster's prize possession! Most come here with little more than the clothes they are wearing, and family incomes are strained just to cover rent and food. Getting a bike for a youngster to ride around the apartment complex or for a teenager to visit friends is valuable to the entire family as they adjust to life in their new surroundings.
kid bike