Zeke D’Avy’s eighth graders are learning a lot this week.
They’re learning metrics, problem solving, tools, principles of engineering – and the benefit of being a good and generous member of their community.
D’Avy’s RotaExplorer students are working on donated bikes this week, helping out a Bike Lafayette project that puts usable bicycles in the hands of folks who need them, but can’t afford them.
“One of the cool things is, we have six bikes we got totally finished yesterday. They look good, they’re polished up and everything works on them,” D’Avy said. “We already have six folks who are waiting on them, and we’re going to be able to deliver them today.”
Sometimes all a person needs is some reliable transportation to be able to get and keep a job, D’Avy says. This program helps people who can’t buy a bike get a good one, he said. His students are learning a lot of practical skills, but they’re also learning how it feels to help someone who needs it.
That’s a big benefit to the program, said Andre Angelle of Bike Lafayette.
“It just feels good to be providing for someone who can’t provide for themselves,” he said. “A lot of people think you need to be rich and powerful to do that. It’s just nice to tell them, you don’t need a dollar or a factory or a warehouse to do this, you just need to put a little time and energy to it, and you can do this.”
If anyone else wants to get in on that feeling, Bike Lafayette is hosting an event Saturday at Girard Park, Angelle said. The group’s Fix-It Festival starts at 10 a.m. For more info, visit the group’s Facebook page by clicking here.
D’Avy said he called Bike Lafayette after he heard Angelle on the radio talking about the festival.
“I thought it was a great idea for my students to be a part of,” D’Avy said.
The students will be working on the bikes for three days this week; on the first day, they ended with six functional bikes, plus boxes of useful parts and 10 frames stripped down and ready to be made into working bikes.
Angelle said he hopes the project will get some of D’Avy’s kids riding their own bikes again. Sometimes when their bike breaks, they don’t know how to fix it “and it’s worthless to them. It’s not hard to fix your bike. All you need to know is how.”
D’Avy said his students are fortunate to have the opportunity to learn to use the tools, and learn these skills, at school.
“People in community need to know that good things like this are happening in our schools, and to continue supporting funding that can bring these opportunities to our students,” he said.
If you need a bike, or know someone who does but can’t afford it, contact Bike Lafayette via the Facebook page.