Francisco Quiterio, Youth Apprentice

Young people in C4C’s youth apprenticeship come to the program first as students, learning how to do basic bike mechanics. But before they know it, they are the teachers.

Francisco Quiterio, one of four youth apprentices in C4C’s first-ever Minneapolis cohort that began in summer 2016, loves working open shop because he gets to help others and fix bikes.

“[What I like best about the program is] learning new mechanical skills and having people come here and getting to help them,” he said. “I can be a teacher. I like to teach people how to fix their whole bike, their chains, derailleurs. Do big overhauls.”

Francisco was born in Mexico, but has called Minneapolis home since he was two years old. The Washburn High School junior having been playing soccer since he was 10, but has been riding his bike since he was seven.

“I ride a lot more now,” he said. “As soon as C4C gave me a bike this summer during the summer program I started riding a lot more after my other bike was stolen. I usually ride to the shop for work.”

Now that Francisco feels like he has some great mechanical skills learned, he’s ready to move on to some other skills C4C cultivates in young people in the apprenticeship program.

“I would like to learn how to be more of a leader and be more responsible,” he said. “[I want to learn to] teach in a way that others can understand. Right now I may not make sense when I teach.”

But Francisco might be making more sense than he thinks. When asked if there was a specific moment he knew he was truly helping someone, he had one to report.

“When [a patron] was asking questions, they really understood how the process of fixing the bike worked,” he said.

Besides developing teaching skills, Francisco has also noticed a change in other things in his life since he started working at C4C.

“I’m more on time for work and school,” he admitted. “Having to be on time for work has helped me to be more on time when I have to be other places as well.”

If there’s one thing Francisco is grateful for, it’s having a bicycle and being able to ride.

“I ride my bike more often because of C4C,” he said. “It makes it easier to get places. I have more freedom to go wherever because it’s free.”

Download Francisco’s story here.