Needs Does Second Chance Bikes Address?
Working poor need bikes!
Homeless need bikes!
Kids love bikes!
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.
|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