A mobile bike repair shop and training center, which was in part organized by a Mattapan youth, received a financial boost this week when Citizens Bank chose the group as the winner of its “Banking on Youth” competition.
The after-school program, dubbed Chain Reaction, is a youth-based organization sponsored by Bikes Not Bombs and was formed by Stephane Alexandre, 17, of Mattapan; Will Gifford, 17, of Jamaica Plain; Evan Hanlon, 17, of Roslindale; Corrina Roche Cross, 17, of Brookline; and Abdul Hussein, 16, of Jamaica Plain.
“Citizens Bank is thrilled to award Chain Reaction and their innovative idea with this seed money, which will benefit the Greater Boston community,” Jerry Sargent, president of Citizens Bank and RBS Citizens in Massachusetts said in a statement. “Through initiatives like this, we remain committed to fostering good citizenship within our footprint, and will continue to seed the kind of ingenuity and leadership demonstrated by these young entrepreneurs.”
With $1,000 provided by Citizens, the group will now be able to expand their program and provide more services to low-income neighborhoods that don’t have access to bike shops.
Launched last March and housed in the Dorchester and Roxbury Boys and Girls Clubs, the student repaired a number of bikes, reselling them at low cost to local residents in addition to their "Learn-it, Earn-in" program, that allows local youth to learn how to repair their bikes for free.
Although the youths' idea has blossomed, to get the seed-money, students had to come up with a creative 90-second video that demonstrated the importance of their project.