Baton Rouge General (BRG) announced a grant to fund five internships at Front Yard Bikes (FYB), a community bike shop that teaches local kids in Baton Rouge how to fix and maintain bikes.
Through FYB’s internship program, teenagers with a knack for mechanical skills will learn customer service, process management, and other work-related and interpersonal skills, all while maintaining a resume and retaining employment at one of FYB’s program sites.
“The opportunity to learn a skill, the value of work, and to take pride in ownership shouldn’t be a based on your zip code,” said BRG President and CEO Edgardo Tenreiro. “We are proud to support FYB. Their programs will have significant impact on several of Baton Rouge’s social determinants of health – exercise, transportation, education, mentorship, and meaningful employment.”
FYB Founder Dustin LaFont started collecting used bicycles in 2010 for neighborhood kids to rebuild and keep. His vision evolved first into a free after-school program, and then a 2015 BREC partnership provided the space – Terrace Street Park – and opportunity for internships, community gardening, welding, cooking and a host of community service projects. Last year, FYB assumed operation of Mid-City Bike Shop on Government St.
“At FYB, we feel the youth are our community’s greatest asset, and we need to invest in them at every opportunity,” said LaFont. “We are extremely grateful that BRG believes in our youth too.”
FYB’s youth development program serves more than 200 kids a year, with not only bike ownership, but with mentoring, STEM skills, mechanical skills, street safety, and education support.