What measures 20 inches, is hot pink and lime green, and has the word “Trouble” splashed across its frame? It’s the one thousandth bike that was donated to a deserving community member — thanks to the work of students in the Del Valle Bicycle Repair Program.
What began as an after-school program six years ago has to date trained 125 students in bicycle mechanics. Paul Grasseschi, founder of the program, said the underlying philosophy is to “take something that doesn’t work, something someone else tossed out, and make it useful again.”
On Sept. 18, students and Grasseschi unveiled the one thousandth bike amid cheers and confetti as Jerry Schweickert from Kids Bike Lane was presented with “Hot Pink Trouble” to give to a child needing a bicycle.
“This program teaches students critical thinking and problem solving, and gives them a chance to work with their hands,” said Grasseschi. “Even more, it teaches them how to put other people before themselves.”
Spencer Rodrigues, an 11th grader at Del Valle, spoke on behalf of the students in the program, acknowledging that this work is shared by many.
Representatives from American Legion Post 237, Knights of Columbus, Kids Bike Lane, and Bike Angels United joined the celebration. The program is a true community effort, with support from the Livermore Police Department and surrounding police departments. The celebration concluded with a tour of the Del Valle Bike Shop, a classroom resembling a professional bike shop repair.
Del Valle Principal Erik Taylor said, “Beyond the practical learning taking place with this program, our students also learn that there are people in our community in need who do not have a means of transportation to get to school or a job. Our students provide this independence for them.”
His sentiments were echoed by Superintendent Kelly Bowers, Ed.D., who said, “I’m incredibly proud of our staff at Del Valle for their commitment to students and for continuously looking for innovative ways to engage them in learning while fostering a heart of service.”