Read and Write Kalamazoo (RAWK) is thrilled to share a closer look at our dreamy partnership with Open Roads Bike Program! The youth development bicycling program is a Kalamazoo native non-profit organization devoted to teaching hands-on bike mechanic skills, along with social skills, that empower students to build successful futures and create positive changes within the community. They share our mission to support the growth and learning of Kalamazoo youth through the cultivation of critical skills, and we are incredibly proud to join forces with them.
RAWK and Open Roads' collaboration — RAWKin' ROADS — just finished two weeks of camp for middle school and high school youth. Stories and poems were written. Bikes were built. And now we get to share all about it with you!
At RAWKin’ Roads, students spent their days exercising both their brains and their bodies. Mornings included writing workshops at The Reality Factory, where students used their words to creatively explore themes of travel, adventure, and exploration. After lunch, there was a shift of gears! After a quick bus trip to the Open Roads' Riverview Launch building, students engaged in team-building activities and were guided through the project of building their very own bicycle that they kept at the end of the program. We also spent a morning over at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center making paper and foam block prints they'll use to personalize their copies of our summer anthology. Along with a bicycle, students received a helmet, bike lock, tote bag filled with a writing kit, T-shirt, and will receive a published anthology of their work at our RAWK Reads end-of-the-summer celebration. Transportation between the two locations, lunch, and snacks were provided. (Writing and biking require lots of food!)
Just like all RAWK programming, RAWKin’ Roads operates on a pay-what-you-can system in order to ensure accessibility to all students regardless of household income or ability. We work with schools, libraries, and other youth-serving organizations to provide Kalamazoo youth with a team of supportive adults and safe spaces where they may exercise their creativity. Our partnerships and sponsorships from the Kalamazoo community allow us to celebrate youth voices, expand our audience, and defray our costs. Financial contributions ensure we have scholarships available for all students that may need them.
Gallery photos courtesy of Open Roads