At Longs Peak Middle School, students are building bikes to give back to their community. Every day, the young engineers are working on the bikes, in a classroom that looks like a professional bike shop, getting donated bikes ready for the annual Kids Holiday Bike Giveaway in December.
The middle school has partnered with Bicycle Longmont and the Kids Holiday Bike Program so that the students have an opportunity to work on the bikes, using technical skills, and adding altruism to the student motivation.
Longs Peak Middle School specializes in giving attention to students who have failed for various reasons, such as personal problems, poor attendance, or disengagement. The school already operates on a philosophy of bettering the community by giving their students additional attention, resources, and skills.
“We really work on ourselves more than we work on bikes here in the bike shop. These students will share with you that this is more of a team collaboration in problem-solving and working together, and the bikes are just a venue for that to happen,” said Josh VanAuken, the instructional coach and director of the bike program at Longs Peak Middle School.
The effect on disruptive students has shown positive results since the bike program was created. They tend to show up to class with a changed attitude.
“We utilize and leverage this program to get them (the students) feeling like they’re belonging back in the school environment. What we know is that they start seeing themselves as being back in the community through that sense of belonging, and through that sense of belonging, they start contributing back to the program,” VanAuken said.