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Trips For Kids offers Earn-a-Bike after school programs as well as mountain biking excursions for at-risk youth in hopes of changing the trajectory of their futures.
“We have had so many kids come to us who have never seen a rabbit or the beach or even gotten out of the city,” said Marilyn Price, the 73-year-old founder of Trips For Kids (TFK). “One ride with us into the mountains can change their lives forever, and often does.”
Price, who was named a CNN Hero earlier this year, speaks passionately about the power of the bike to alter the trajectory of at-risk city kids exposed to her program. That’s because more than 150,000 disadvantaged youth have taken rides in the San Francisco area through TFK – and with 90 TFK chapters worldwide – since she started the organization in 1988. “Just recently I was at the bank wearing my Trips For Kids T-shirt and a young teller there told me that she’d been on a all-day ride with us as a teenager and it was one of the best experiences of her life.”
Group mountain bike outings are just one way that this San Rafael, CA-based non-profit is having a positive impact on kids. Through TFK’s after-school Earn-a-Bike program, kids stay off the streets and out of trouble while learning bike mechanics and earning credit toward a bike of their own. The organization also runs a bicycle thrift shop in downtown San Rafael where quality bikes and affordable transportation can be bought at extreme discounts.
Is Price basking in her success and putting her feet up? Not a chance. During her 22-mile round-trip bike commute to the TFK offices, she’s been thinking about expansion. “I would like to see us be as pervasive in urban areas as the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.”
This article is part of our week-long coverage of global bike-based organizations changing the world two wheels at a time. Check out 10 Great Cycling Organizations to see more of their inspiring wok.