Teens learn real world job skills through generous bike donations

TopLine hosted 2nd annual bike drive to benefit a local St. Paul youth apprenticeship program

MAPLE GROVE, MN (June 16, 2015) — On May 30, 2015 TopLine Federal Credit Union hosted its 2nd annual bike donation drive at its Como Park branch location with donations benefiting Keystone Community Services’ Youth Program, Express Bike Shop. TopLine members traveled from near and far to drop off their unused bikes to help support local youth employment. Donations ranged from a single bike to truck loads. As the day wrapped up, TopLine members had donated nearly 70 bikes.

Why are these bikes donations so important? Keystone’s Youth Express Apprenticeship Program, is a youth directed social enterprise, serving as a learning lab for young people entering the workplace, with all revenue reinvested back into the program. This youth development and entrepreneurial training program teaches young people real world job skills and provides employment opportunities as paid apprentices.

Through apprenticeships at Keystone’s Urban Business Adventures, youth gain a valuable “first job” experience that emphasizes positive work skills, business knowledge and the entrepreneurial mindset. Each apprentice is required to work 200-plus hours focusing on three elements: curriculum, coaching and assessment, and at the end of the program becomes certified in bicycle repair and small business skills.

Deb Spivey, a member of TopLine in Como Park, donated a child’s bike and an adult bike. Deb, who learned about the bike drive from TopLine’s newsletter and website, said, “I was happy to donate the bike my child outgrew knowing its going to a local, worthwhile youth program that provides teens with job training and employment opportunities.”

“TopLine members eagerly showed their support to help their local community’s non-profit serve the needs of youth,” says Tom Smith, TopLine President and CEO. “Bikes that were collecting dust in garages or fated for the scrap yard are now giving teens an unique opportunity to develop new skills and habits needed to be successful in work and life, and 100% of profits are reinvested back into the internship program.”

Express Bike Shop, celebrating its 20th anniversary, is a full-service bike shop specializing in refurbished bikes, repair and new and used components. The bike shop, located at 1158 Selby Ave in St. Paul, accepts bike donations of all kinds and uses these donations to train young people on how to fix and refurbish bikes for resale. Plus, youth gain valuable experience operating a small business, like daily shop responsibilities including assisting customers, preparing the bank deposit, and ordering and stocking items in the retail area, as well as completing a Bicycle Repair Certification. Visit to learn more.

TopLine Federal Credit Union, a Twin Cities-based credit union, is Minnesota’s 13th largest, with assets of more than $360 million. Established in 1935, the not-for-profit cooperative offers a complete line of financial services, as well as auto and home insurance, from its five branch locations — in Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, Maple Grove, Plymouth and in St. Paul’s Como Park — as well as by phone, mobile app and online at Membership is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, attends school or volunteers in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott or Washington Counties and their immediate family members.

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