One of the CMHA-Cowichan Valley Branch’s youth programs is a familiar Trunk Road landmark that has been operating for 15 years. BikeWorks is one of the CMHA’s most successful outreach and resiliency programs. Humble looking from the street, the inside of this site is nothing short of impressive. Here, amidst the evident years of creativity and connections youth find a space to explore artistic activities and learn to fix and build bikes while finding belonging and acceptance from staff and fellow participants. BikeWorks has become a safe space for many in the community. The guiding philosophy of the shop comes from Martin Brokenleg’s Circle of Courage. Martin Brokenleg believes that there are four things that all people need to live healthy lives: Belonging, Generosity, Mastery and Independence. Through BikeWorks, a community is built that crosses economic, racial, age and gang lines.
This youth centre disguised as a bike shop also runs an ArtWorks program enabling youth to participate in a variety of creative individual and group projects.
Providing these critical “communicative spaces” is often the first step in helping youth to escape the spirals of addiction, poverty and homelessness. For many young people, being able to build and earn a free bike and have access to free arts and crafts activities are valuable additions to their lives. On any given afternoon, the site is buzzing with after school activity. Free snacks and small meals are often served during program hours and this brings in young families. In this way, the shop also functions as an anti-poverty initiative.
Donations of bike parts, bike helmets and art supplies are always welcome.
BikeWorks Hours of Operation:
September through June Hours:
Tuesday to Friday 2:30pm-5:30pm and Saturdays 12:00pm-4:00pm
July and August Hours:
Tuesday to Friday 10:30am-2:30pm