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'Bikes Not Bombs' In Jamaica Plain Using Bicycle Repairs As Tool For Social Change

JAMAICA PLAIN (CBS) – A Jamaica Plain organization is using bicycles as a means for social change. They are educating students and Boston and helping people around the world at the same time.

The organization, called "Bikes Not Bombs," is making a difference one pedal at a time.

"We actually started by shipping bikes to Nicaragua at a time when they were going through a civil war and needed a tool like the bicycle to rebuild and empower their community," executive director Elijah Evans said.

Bikes Not Bombs is a name that draws you into the shop. It makes you wonder what they are all about.

"We work with a team of volunteers and our staff to reclaim bikes," Evans said. "We go out into the community, people come to us to drop off bikes here and we work with our staff to redistribute those into our communities."

One way they get it all done is through Bike School. It's a 5-week course where they teach students how to repair one of those donated bicycles.

"It is so meaningful to see students who didn't think that they could overhaul systems that we teach them about on their bicycle walk away with a completed bike," executive director Tess Stongner said.

Through the whole process of donation and giving back locally and globally, the students involved not only learn a new skill, but they also gain confidence.

"In terms of the youth apprentices, I see them open up to each other and kind of push themselves to be leaders in this space," Sara Lawrence, director of People and Culture, said.

For those in the shop, something as simple as a bicycle can hold a great deal of power for change.

"Bike life is not just a phrase that we say. It's something we live. Bicycles are critical to our society," Evans said.

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