East Bay bike shop on mission to educate, donate bicycles to local youth in need

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- It may look like a normal bike shop from the outside but on the inside this nonprofit is doing great things for the community and environment. Waterside Workshops in Berkeley is refurbishing bicycles that would otherwise end in the landfill and giving them to children and locals in need.

"We exclusively deal with used bicycles and they are brought to us as donations," said Catherine Callaway, Program Manager at Street Level Cycles. "We try to make sure that people who really need it have access to a bicycle."

For the past five years, Waterside Workshops has been receiving bike donations from community members. Recently, the nonprofit was able to provide 85 refurbished bicycles to local organizations.

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In addition to providing bicycles to the community, Waterside Workshops offers a youth internship program and classes for students.

"Our main mission is vocational education. We take on interns from various local programs and learn how to repair bicycles," said Callaway. We are also imparting that knowledge to the next generation of bicycle mechanics and to develop the skills they need as mechanics."

Students are taught every aspect of repairing and maintaining a bicycle along with basic customer service skills.

"All of our interns have the opportunity of building themselves a bicycle which both cements ownership of those skills as well as permits them the joy of that bicycle," said Callaway. "It's exciting to see kids light up at the sight of their bicycle, try it out, and learn to ride it."

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The internship program and classes has been geared toward promoting a healthy environment and lifestyle.

"The joy of cycling is a really important part of childhood," said Callaway. "We are all about getting youth on bicycles and in the interest of sustainable transportation."

For more information, visit the Waterside Workshops website here.
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