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Bike program sneakily teaches basic social skills

Riding a bicycle is a classic part of childhood. But plenty of kids don’t have bikes. One program in Kalamazoo teaches kids simple bike maintenance and at the end of the program, kids get their own bike. But the people who run the Open Roads workshop say the heart of the program is about teaching basic social skills.


Ethan Alexander started Open Roads three years ago. (In his professional life he works as a “positive behavior support specialist” for the Kalamazoo public schools. That means Alexander trains educators in how to make schools more positive places to be.)

Alexander says the heart of this program is about working with children who don’t have opportunities in other venues.  

“A lot these kids may not be successful in school, they make not be successful in other avenues. But you put a wrench in their hand or you put a screwdriver in their hand and that’s when they light-up.”

He says kids also walk away with improved social skills.

Open Roads'"Fixapalooza" workshop starts back up Monday, May 2.


Kyle Norris is from Michigan and spent ten years as a host and reporter with Michigan Radio, the state’s largest NPR-affiliate. He lives in Seattle and works as a substitute host and producer at KNKX.
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