Open Roads' Community Service Event is a Great Way to Give Back
By Don Herzog, Sr. UX Designer
Thanks to the avid cyclists at Tekna, I have recently rekindled my interest in bicycling after a long hiatus. When Tekna asked for volunteers for Open Roads’ “Fixapalooza,” a free drop-in bike repair clinic for youth 18 and under, I jumped at the chance to pitch in.
I had never heard of the non-profit Open Roads (a Kalamazoo organization teaching local youths bike maintenance and mechanical skills, as well as social skills, to better prepare them for the future) and had no idea what to expect when I arrived at the event. But I was quickly introduced to the Open Roads staff, coached on how to work with the kids, and then paired with a teen needing assistance. Having limited experience, I joined more seasoned coworkers, Joe Regimbald, Eric Heffernan, and Lars Chrisman, along with the kids, to learn a thing or two about bike repair and maintenance.
With a focus on safety, we spent quality time chatting with the kids, replacing tubes and tires, and repairing breaks. I appreciated Open Roads’ philosophy of using bike maintenance to demonstrate how the kids can take ownership of their actions and help themselves while respecting what others teach them. These values, paired with the mechanical coaching, are lessons they could carry with them throughout their lives.
All in all, working side-by-side with my Tekna teammates to help others in the community was an extremely rewarding experience and a really fun way to spend a summer evening. Thank you, Open Roads, for organizing this unique event that reaches out into my community—I look forward to the next one!