For the first time, through a grant of $2,500, the Franz Bakery Foundation partnered with Bike Works to provide opportunities for their Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) to attend their Bikecitement! Annual Fundraising Dinner on March 25th. The Bikecitement! Annual Fundraising Dinner is Bike Works’ biggest fundraising event of the year, raising over $285,000 in support of their youth and adult bicycle repair and education programs. Through their support of Bike Works, the Franz Bakery Foundation is helping youth to develop themselves as leaders in our community, like Zoe and Marcus, who are featured in this video.
Bike Works is a Seattle-based nonprofit organization that uses the bicycle as a vehicle for change to empower youth and build resilient communities. Since 1996, they have been working to make bicycling more accessible and affordable in our community. They do so through their bicycle donation program and Social Enterprise Community Bike Shop which fuels their youth and adult bicycle repair and education programs. Bike Works’ YAC is made up of Bike Works youth that are dedicated to facilitating conversation and decision making at Bike Works and reflecting the wishes of Bike Works youth. They are driven and devoted to furthering the mission and vision of the Bike Works community.
Friends of the Children
Friends of the Children proactively identifies the youth in our community who face the hardest challenges and pairs them with trained, salaried professional mentors (known as Friends) for 12½ years—until high school graduation. A Friend’s primary objective is to help youth to develop the social and emotional assets they need to build resilience through very challenging circumstances. Each Friend works an average of 15 hours per month with each child. They meet weekly with between 8 and 11 youth, communicate with caregivers regularly, and advocate for each child’s best interests within school and social service systems.
One of our new youth, Daniel, is a ball of energy. He was very excited to meet his Friend, Ethan. “The first thing he asked me was if I could take him to McDonalds. I told him not today, but we can build to special activities like that,” said Ethan. He explained that it all depends on Daniel’s behavior in school, with him, and at home. When Ethan first talked about visiting Daniel at school, sitting in his classroom, and doing activities together, Daniel was thrilled. When Ethan showed up during lunchtime for their first in-school visit, however, Daniel had a change of heart. “He said he wasn’t hungry, so I asked him if everything is okay and he said no,” Ethan recalled. “I asked him what was wrong and he says he wants me to leave, he’s ready to go outside and play with his friends.” After Ethan left he followed up with Daniel’s mother and teacher to come up with a plan to support Daniel. They decided that his mom and teacher would ask Daniel every day if he wanted Ethan to visit at school and hang out with him in the classroom. After about a week, Daniel said yes. “When I walked into the classroom, Daniel looked at me and kind of sat there quietly. Then the next thing you know he raises his hand and asks if he can go sit by his mentor,” Ethan said. From that moment on, Daniel has been excited for Ethan to come into the classroom. He sits beside him and the two participate in class activities together. Daniel knows when he’ll see Ethan and what Ethan expects from him when he’s there.
Friends of the Children are very grateful to the Franz Bakery Foundation for investing in a remarkable group of youth who will reap the benefits of 12½ years of intentional, personalized support we provide at Friends of the Children. The barriers our program youth encounter are multi-faceted and diverse, but we are relentless in our mission to help each child build resilience and develop the skills necessary to achieve long-term academic and professional success. We are extremely grateful for your commitment to our program youth. Together, we are launching resilient young people into adulthood.