TopLine hosted Bike Drive to benefit local youth in need
Bikes benefit local youth and youth apprenticeship program
MAPLE GROVE, MN (July 6, 2022) — In early June TopLine Federal Credit Union hosted a three-day bike donation drive at all branch locations benefiting Keystone Community Services’ Youth Express Bike Shop and Avenues for Youth’s ConneQT program. TopLine members and employees dropped off their bikes and bike parts to help support local youth. Donations ranged from a single bike to truck loads. As the drive wrapped up, TopLine members collected a total of 151 bikes!
Keystone’s Youth Employment 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. 141 bikes were donated to Express Bike Shop.
Youth who participate in the program gain a valuable “first job” experience that emphasizes work readiness skills and an entrepreneurial spirit in a fun, engaging and team-building format. The multi-session curriculum consists of mini-lessons, group challenges and off-site field studies to reinforce concepts. Each apprentice is required to work 200-plus hours and at the end of the program becomes certified in bicycle repair and small business skills.
Avenues for Youth’s, ConneQT community-based program is a response to LGBTQI and youth homelessness. The goal of the program is to provide safer, culturally responsive housing within a youth’s own community with community members sharing their home, food and resources. ConneQT supports LGBTI and identified youth ages 16-24. Young adults were asked if they would like a gently used bike, and 10 bikes were donated to youths participating in the ConneQT program. These bikes will help provide transportation for the youths to access resources such as housing, education, career support and employment while in the program.
“The purpose of being a credit union is about helping others, and TopLine members and employees generously contributed hundreds of bikes to support a local St. Paul community’s non-profit youth employment program and transportation for those that are experiencing homelessness,” says Tom Smith, TopLine President and CEO. “We are so happy that we could coordinate this in-kind donation drive to provide an opportunity for young adults to assist with independence and to support the youth apprenticeship program.”
“Thank you to all of the TopLine members who donated bikes and in turn supported Keystone’s youth employment programs! Early meaningful job experiences as a teenager are the building blocks for successful employment later in life. At Keystone’s Express Bike Shop, teens have the opportunity to gain important skills while working in a supportive environment. We’re so grateful for TopLine community for your commitment to supporting youth in our community in this meaningful way,” says Mary McKeown, President of Keystone Community Services.
“In appreciation for the support, Avenues for Youth’s Development Manager Kevin Kjonaas says, “TopLine members and employees have gifted the young people at Avenues not just a bike, but freedom and community. These bikes represent free transportation to school, to jobs, and to fun summer time activities. More importantly, these bikes demonstrate to the youth that they are not alone in their journey out of homelessness. Community partners like TopLine are there to provide support and walk/ bike alongside them as they achieve stable housing and their dreams.”
Avenues for Youth partners with youth experiencing homelessness to achieve their dreams. For more than 25 years, Avenues has supported youth ages 16-24 in Hennepin County. Whether a young person needs someplace to stay for just one night, or a year and a half, Avenues empowers youth to find their path out of homelessness. They do this by providing a stable home, building relationships, and navigating the youth’s education, career, health and wellness and housing goals. Visit www.avenuesforyouth.org to learn more.
Express Bike Shop 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. Since 1995, over 400 young people have successfully completed a paid apprenticeship at Express Bike Shop. Visit www.exbike.com to learn more.
About TopLine Federal Credit Union
TopLine Federal Credit Union, a Twin Cities-based credit union, is Minnesota’s 13th largest, with assets of more than $678 million and serves nearly 46,500 members. 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 www.TopLinecu.com. 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. Visit us on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TopLineFederalCreditUnion or Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/toplinefcu. To learn more about the credit union’s foundation, visit https://www.toplinecu.com/foundation.