youth programs

The CBC is a safe, inclusive space where youth can access a variety of resources, programs, and people committed to creating opportunities for personal growth and wellbeing. With an emphasis on FUN, the CBC is made possible by dedicated volunteers, community partners, and funders working to create a community where youth are empowered and supported to be their most engaged, healthy, and confident selves.

Our center recognizes that each child walks through our door with a unique set of life struggles, strengths, and sparks that need nourishment. We also believe that every child—and adult volunteer mentors—seeks connection to grow. Our current programs provide the framework for personal growth.

View our Google program calendar here.

View our general program brochure here.

View our 2017 - 2020 Strategic Plan here.

 

 
 

Daily Drop-in

 
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Afterschool access for all!

Youth of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to stay connected during the critical out-of-school hours by “dropping in” to the CBC’s daily open shop time where they can connect with volunteer adult mentors, staff, and peers through hands-on bike repair, board games, art projects, homework help, and exercising in the upstairs fitness space.

Earn-a-bike for yourself, a friend, family member or service project by putting in the sweat equity to repair it with the help of an adult volunteer or peer mentor! Thanks to the generosity of individuals in the community, the CBC has wall-to-wall tools, parts, and donated bikes of all sizes and models for you to choose. Learn life skills—goal persistence, problem-solving, patience–and technical repair skills while working on a bike to keep for yourself or to give-away to someone else.

*All completed bikes go through a formal safety inspection by program staff.

*Youth who do not already have a helmet is provided one for free and fitted correctly with the assistance of a staff member or volunteer.  

No pre-registration needed; a signed permission form is the center’s only requirement for entry.  

 

Mentoring

 
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Relationships, relationships, relationships!

Mentoring relationships have transformative effects on young people and are a critical element in every child’s social, emotional, and cognitive development. The CBC’s youth-centered and experiential programs (learning by doing) are designed to promote formal and informal mentoring of young people, in addition to creating pathways for peer-to-peer mentoring. We focus on building trust and rapport with youth through FUN(!!), hands-on, low-barrier activities so that we can learn more about what each child’s strengths are to build on them. Key to our program delivery model is accessibility: the center is community-based, located directly in the neighborhoods of the youth we serve and within walking distance of the city’s most economically distressed census blocks.

Our goal is to be a reliable, caring resource for young people throughout every stage of their growth and development.

Interested in becoming a direct-service volunteer? We’re looking for enthusiastic, positive adults to connect with kids through adventures, repair, and fun. No mechanic or bike skills needed: just a good attitude and a willingness to problem-solve!  Learn more here.

 

Job Readiness

 
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Earn while you learn!

Young adults (aged 12 and older) “earn and learn” in the Kids Bike Factory (KBF), learning critical job skills by managing a youth-led bike repair business and earning a monthly educational stipend in the process. By engaging kids with hands-on learning in a real-world context, we are preparing them future employment—teaching transferable job skills such as financial literacy, communication, and project management—essential for success regardless of their career paths.

This program has limited available spots. As part of the job skills development process, all Kids Bike Factory youth are required to interview for a position, complete timesheets, and develop a resume with the support of program staff and volunteers.

KBF Youth Application Form | KBF Youth Program Assistant Internship Description

Are you a young person interested in building your resume and developing job skills? Stop by to learn more.

Are you a business who cares about the future workforce of America? Invest in young people. Help train your future co-workers and employees by contacting Cliff today to “sponsor a spot” on our KBF team.  

 

Leadership Development

 
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It’s evolution, man. Eventually, the student becomes the teacher.
— Big Sean, American Rapper

The CBC is a place for youth to mentor and be mentored with ample opportunities for peer-to-peer mentoring and leadership at increasing levels of complexity and engagement. The center’s inclusive community environment means that kids from diverse backgrounds, ages, and abilities are learning and growing side-by-side, developing empathy and appreciation for another’s similarities and differences. This unique setting is ideal for leadership development, with trained CBC youth captaining two-seater (tandem bikes) for less experienced riders, fixing bikes for younger kids during Bike Doctor Outreach days, becoming the next Youth Shop Assistant for Kids Bike Factory, and by supporting one of the CBC’s many civic engagement projects and outreach events.   

 

Aspirations

 
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Trek2Connect: A six-year journey of connection: to mentors, to friends, and to future success.

Trek2Connect is a multi-year, multi-tier program of the CBC, geared toward meeting the aspirational and social-emotional health of young people, grades seven-to-graduation. Inspired by Trekkers Inc., and based on the Trekkers 10 Youth Programming Principles for youth development, this CBC program launched in August 2017 with one pilot cohort consisting of 10 students. At full maturation (year 2023), the program will engage six youth cohorts (sixty students), 10+ dedicated program mentors, and two program managers.

Learn more about T2C’s grade-based focus areas here.

Seventh-grade recruitment starts each year in September! Contact Woodie to learn more.

 

Education

 

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We believe that cognitive development is an important piece of our youth development mission. Now, more than ever, we are committed to strengthening the link between academics and afterschool programs in a way that supports—but does not replicate—the learning that occurs within school walls. In January 2017, the CBC’s Board of Directors approved a new 2017-2020 Strategic Plan to meet the growing needs of our youth, with education as a key component moving forward.

With resounding support from the Biddeford School Department (BSD), we codified our commitment through a formal Collaboration Agreement aimed primarily at improving Alternative Education Program outcomes through community-based (CBC) coursework and by providing, together, a more complete and effective menu of wraparound youth services. This intensive service-learning programming is in addition to existing school day programming at the CBC, working with Biddeford Middle School’s Alternative Education Class and Biddeford High School’s Functional Life Skills Program for students with intellectual disabilities.

Beyond collaborative school department programming, the CBC leads a seasonal STEM* Bike Mechanics program guided by a comprehensive eight-week curriculum designed to make STEM education more effective, accessible, and fun.

This course includes:

  • Relevant Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core Science Standards (CCSS);

  • Eight learning sessions, broken down by activities, mechanics, foundational knowledge vocabulary;

  • I CAN Statements, specific to each session's learning outcomes, and;

  • One-on-one support from volunteer mentors, educators, and field-active STEM professionals.

*STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. Learn more about the value of STEM in the afterschool setting here.

 

Summer Camp

 
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Nourishing kids’ bodies and minds!


The CBC ensures that hundreds of kids have an active summer and nutritious food while school is out. We participate in the USDA Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), providing healthy lunches for youth and family members, and offer expanded programming to meet the needs of young people during the summer vacation months. With our fleet of nine tandem bicycles (two-seater bikes), youth road bikes and mountain bikes, we make sure that kids get outside and connected to the trails, beaches, and natural features that make our state so unique.

Drop-in summer camp programming includes:

  • Bike rides 3x per week (road, mountain, tandem)

  • Beach trips

  • Open shop time 4x per week

  • Mountain bike Wednesdays

  • “Pedal your smoothie” Fridays

  • Free lunch every day

*The CBC owns six acres of green space for camping, exploring, and riding. The center abuts 140 acres and 22 miles of public land with direct trail access into Clifford Park, which we regularly use for mountain biking and winter fat tire biking on the snow!

 

Outreach

 
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Engaging youth in opportunities to serve others within the CBC and broader community is part of our DNA. Nearly all of our programs have civic engagement and service-learning elements with an emphasis on helping youth develop leadership skills and stronger community connections through service to others.

Bike Doctor Outreach: Our “bike shop on wheels” enables older youth to build stronger connections within their community by becoming outreach ambassadors for CBC, providing free bike repair for kids in nearby neighborhoods, with a particular focus on the Mission Hill area. This youth-led outreach is a fun way for older kids to develop leadership skills, become role models for younger kids, and break out of neighborhood silos.

Trek Across Maine: The CBC’s history with the American Lung Association dates back to 2001 when our founding executive director used a four-person bicycle to teach patience, teamwork, and goal-persistence to two teenagers and another adult mentor through the 180-mile Trek Across Maine. Since then, over 300 individuals have ridden with the CBC’s Trek team, resulting in over $260,000 raised for the ALANE’s healthy lung and air initiatives. The Trek has been an invaluable tool for providing kids the opportunity to experience one-on-one mentorship, and to develop positive personal stories (narrative therapy theories), self-efficacy, and broadening horizons beyond Biddeford. There are no winners or losers in the Trek, only people who have persevered and accomplished something impressive.

CBC also supports many community events, including (but not limited to!):

  • The Bacon Street Festival: This annual event celebrates one of Biddeford’s most economically distressed neighborhoods, Mission Hill, during the National Night Out—an event designed for cities and towns across the United States to implement activities during this time that promotes safe neighborhoods, crime, drug, and violence prevention, and police/community partnerships.

  • The Forgotten Initiative: CBC youth leaders from the Kids Bike Factory program service bikes and give away helmets for young foster children. With 250k children entering the foster care system each year, and 20k children aging out of the system without adoption, The Forgotten Initiative is part of a national effort to bring joy, purpose, and support to the foster community.

  • The Biddeford Fire Department Open House: The CBC distributes free helmets and promotes personal safety during the Biddeford Fire Department’s annual open house, held in conjunction with Fire Prevention Week. During the event, hundreds of residents turn out to learn more about the fire department and its supporting agencies in the community.  

  • Parades: CBC youth decorate the bikes and connect to the community in honor of Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, the Festival of Lights, and others when possible.