Earning the ride

Five Chattanooga youth bike for personal and community development

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La Paz Chattanooga is offering a chance for kids to get out of the city’s streets and onto the trails by launching its own chapter of Trips for Kids, a mountain biking organization created to benefit at-risk youth.

The after-school program launches in Chattanooga in November, providing opportunities to five underserved youth, with an emphasis on engaging the Latino community, to mountain bike while learning valuable skills they can carry with them into the future.

“The skills they learn, they will be able to use anywhere,” says La Paz’s Americorps VISTA Brenna Kenney. “It’s not an experience they are getting to do … when the program is over, they are walking away with a whole skill set they didn’t have before and they get to keep doing it.”

Showing up on time and having a good attitude will be among the basic skills the participants will learn, while gaining knowledge of fundamental bike maintenance techniques, trail safety and etiquette.

Want to help?

MENTORING OPPORTUNITY

Trips for Kids La Paz Chattanooga is actively seeking ride mentors and new or gently used youth mountain bikes to gift to the Trips for Kids participants when they reach the end of the program.

For more information call 423-624-8414 or email bkenney@lapazchattanooga.org.

“These are kids that I don’t think are normally afforded these types of experiences — mountain biking is not necessarily a cheap hobby,” says Kenney. The participants, ages 13-15, will engage in trail rides and community service projects over a period of five months, hopefully learning to become good stewards of the land and nature in the process. If participants complete 90 percent of the rides and community service projects by the end of the program, they will receive a new or gently used mountain bike to keep — a worthy prize earned through five months of hard work.

For more information on Trips for Kids La Paz Chattanooga or to find out about the new Southeast Youth Corps conservation program, visit lapazchattanooga.org.

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