The success of this program can be measured in more than just recent graduates, although the mission of the program is to provide bikes to students at risk for dropping out of school. The program implements a bike focused curriculum into the school day for all participants. Students learn about bike safety, mechanics, and the importance of helping others.
" Bikes for the Philippines (BfP) is more than bikes. BfP is an instrument for community building, youth leadership, and helps to provide opportunities to realize dreams and extend helping hands that kindles hope and motivates beneficiaries to achieve their full potential."Len Carbonell
Len Carbonell is one of the faculty bike coordinators in the Regional School of the Arts (RLSAA). She has already seen the benefits of this program improve the lives of her students. Many of their bike beneficiaries have graduated high school, applied for and received scholarships, and they are now continuing their education in college.
Because RLSAA is located in Manila, the students involved in the program have the benefit of being very close to the central location of the BfP. This has allowed many of the bike beneficiaries, even after graduation to continue with the program by giving back to the organization.
Last year we told you about Honey, who is now enrolled in college through a scholarship she received after her grades improved through working with BfP. Honey dropped out of school when she came to Manila to live with extended family. When she found out about the bike program at RLSAA she re-enrolled in high school, and went after her diploma. After graduation, she continued on with BfP, helping with the bikes and mentoring younger riders.
Thea Garlitos and Erwin Valdivia also graduated from the bike program and turned around to help mentor youth riders in the program. Thea even got a job working in the local bike shop to help pay for school expenses in college.
Erwin, helped unload the last container of bikes we shipped to the Philippines, which just arrived this week. The bikes will be put into service after being reconditioned by volunteers in the warehouse. Some of those volunteers may look familiar, as they have also come up through the bike program, like Erwin.
Erwin graduated in 2015 and has continued his eduation at the University of Rizal in Angono where he is studying fine art. Erwin has quite a collection of paintings (some in the style of Picasso, some Pollock). You may have been lucky enough to grab one of his canvas masterpieces, when he sold a few late last year to help pay for school expenses.