Charlie’s FreeWheels started operating as a volunteer run organization in 2009. Since then, Charlie’s FreeWheels has moved into a shop that it shares with Ya Bikes! (a friendly local repair shop), and has seen 500 youth graduate from the Build-a-Bike program (a 30 hour program that teaches youth how to build their own bicycles), and at least the same number of youth access Drop-In Hours (open shop time for youth to work on repairing their own bikes) and Rides (weekly summer rides & field trips) on a regular basis.
Charlie’s FreeWheels offers the core Build-a-Bike program for free to youth between the ages of 12-25, with priority given to youth residing in Regent Park, Moss Park and St. James Town, as well as homeless youth, and those affiliated with social service agencies in the GTA. The Build-A-Bike program teaches bicycle mechanics to youth and provides youth with the opportunity to build their own bicycles by assessing, repairing and rebuilding a used one that has been donated to the shop. At the end of the program, participants get to keep that bicycle, and are provided with safety accessories and the skills required to safely ride and maintain their bicycles.
We're always down to chat and share our experiences working with young folks and bikes! Feel free to reach out any time: firstname.lastname@example.org