Residents of Brookline will soon be able to swing by Brookline High School if in need of a bike repair or for a donated bike. The student business enterprise BikeOn is aiming to open around mid-April. The effort is being headed by English teacher Elon Fischer and a former BHS student and teacher Elijah Evans. Evans is the executive director of Bikes Not Bombs, a non-profit based in Jamaica Plains that reclaims thousands of bicycles each year and repairs them to ship most of them overseas to economic development projects. Fischer and Evans strived to bring this mission to Brookline High School and, through that, eventually conceptualized BikeOn.
Fischer also directs Trade Up, a subset of the Brookline High School innovation lab along with the Brookline Teen Center and Climate Action Brookline. Trade Up is an arts program designed to introduce students to green construction with the support of the BHS 21st Century Fund. Teens have the opportunity to participate in hands-on training in carpentry, electrical, and plumbing trades to develop the skill set needed in the green construction industry. The aim of this program is to train students in the hands-on skills that they may not get otherwise in a traditional high school curriculum. The workshops also give students the opportunity to network with local green contractors for future job prospects.
BikeOn is shaping up to be yet another chance for BHS students to go beyond the traditional classroom and to learn real-world job skills. Currently in its developing stage, as participating students are enjoying learning the hands-on technical experience necessary to repair bikes, BikeOn is serving an important purpose as it will provide a different, more hands-on approach to learning similar to the Trade Up program. Brookline High School is intensive in its college prep curriculum, so Fischer hopes that by giving the students real-world work experience they won’t have to wait until college to gain a real-world skill set. BikeOn is also providing students with more opportunities than just hands-on bike repairs. Students will be assuming leadership positions in the areas of business development, marketing, and bike donations. Marketing-interested students are currently in the works to produce a logo, a website, and an initial marketing campaign to further promote BikeOn and its mission out into the greater Brookline community.
Like any developing business, BikeOn still has some obstacles to overcome before they launch regarding liability and financial issues. Nonetheless, Fischer is both eager to start the program and to transfer over the direction to the students themselves so they can put their developing skills to work and help Brookline get the bikes they need!
A website and newsletter for BikeOn are still currently in the works with the hopes of launching shortly. For more information, please contact Elon Fischer at [email protected]. Learn more about TradeUp at facebook.com/BHSInnovationLab.