Guest story from Robert Cronin, a workplace learning student from Great Southern Grammar, who was placed with GSCORE in early 2018.
On the 12th of March 2018 a social enterprise based in Fremantle called “Dismantle” launched a pilot program in Albany called “Bike Rescue”. Dismantle specialises in creating innovative programs to help teens and adults reach their potential. Bike rescue is a program that sees troubled youth have a hands-on experience building two bikes from the ground up: one they build for themselves and the other one is donated to charity. In the program the young people learn how to build their confidence, social skills, and self-esteem. The program is empowering youth because at the end of the course they receive a bike that they made and have a stronger understanding of mechanical engineering.
Pat Ryan the CEO of Dismantle says, “I’m passionate about contributing my efforts to help the most vulnerable people in our communities.” The reason this program connects so well with youth is because it opens up options for mental and career skills, for example if they are interested in mechanics then it’s a stepping stone in that direction or if they want to meet new friends, it’s a stepping stone in that direction.
Darren Thomas the Business Manager at Dismantle say, “A lot of the stuff that the youth gain is self-belief and their own personal development”. At the end of the course the participants get to take their bikes on cycle trails and test them out. As the program is in Albany this will encourage them to get outside more and experience the Albany countryside and see what it has to offer. Pat Ryan says that the main character trait he sees the young participants pick up at the end of the course is pride. “When they first arrive they see the bikes as heaps of junk covered in rust and by the end of the course they mechanically see a working bicycle and go for a ride on it knowing that they built it,” he said.
The main reason that participants pull apart and put back together a bike is because it gives the Dismantle staff a long period of time to interact with the young people. Sometimes the program be a life changing catalyst for young people because for the first time they may learn to trust an adult or share their feelings. Pat says, “The main success of the program is that it feeds their curiosity” and that it “has them stripping the bikes down, taking the nuts and bolts apart, and painting it, and there is all this curiosity that leads from step to step.” In five year’s time Pat wants to see every kid have the opportunity to have the tools and the know-how to pull a bike apart and put it back together. He believes that having a bike is a fantastic rite of passage.