Rare Breed bike program hopes to put youth on path to success

Published: Jun. 15, 2016 at 4:59 PM CDT
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One of the biggest struggles for those living in homelessness and poverty is transportation. But some folks here in Springfield are working to provide wheels for homeless and at-risk youth.

They may be mud-covered now, but the bikes at Rare Breed Youth Outreach Center will be transformed. "The flood kind of put a damper on our program," says Benjamin Tegeler, Rare Breed Outreach Center Program Coordinator.

They've been collecting donated bikes for homeless and at risk youth for more than a year, but the program has been bogged down since Christmas.

17 year old Doug Reynolds of Ozark says, "I wanted to do something where I could help the homeless population actually with bicycles, because it's so bad in Springfield. You see people walking."

Reynolds learned of Rare Breed's efforts, and with the help of a church group from Texas, got the bikes cleaned up.

"I know I feel a whole lot better when I ride a bike instead of walking," Reynolds says. Reynolds is a cyclist himself and races for the Mothers Brew Company team. But he knows a bike is much more than fun; it's transportation. "I can go eat at a different restaurant that I could never walk to, I can go anywhere with a bike," Reynolds says.

"The bicycles are an empowering mode of transportation that really can lift people up out of poverty and get them where they need to go," says Tegeler.

The bikes aren't in great shape and will require a lot of work, but the youth at Rare Breed will actually help build their own bikes. "I'm just there as their mentor to kind of show them how to do it," says Reynolds.

"If we just give them a bike, it's not really theirs. If they learn how to take apart a bearing and put their crank together and kind of build the bike themselves, it's their bike. They're invested in the bike, and they're empowered that they can do something," Tegeler says.

They hope the bikes will put homeless and at risk youth on a path to go places.

Rare Breed is getting it's bike workshop up and going. The bike program is always looking for donated bicycles and parts, and of course, folks who know how to work on bikes.

Click the link to the right to learn more about Rare Breed Youth Services, a program of The Kitchen, Inc.