Cycles for Change youth apprentices will be telling their own stories at the Youth Bike Summit, 27-29 May 2016. Yesterday, we introduced Jaquelin Palestino. Today, we’d like to introduce keynote speaker Robert Skipper.
Robert is a 15-year-old sophomore at Community of Peace Academy in Saint Paul. He said the first time he went to Cycles for Change was because a friend “dragged him along” but he ultimately found the space welcoming.
As a youth apprentice at C4C, Robert first learned to fix his own bike; then, he started fixing other people’s bikes. He’s also fixed up bikes donated to Cycles for Change, and currently helps teach others at open shop nights. “It’s not the same feel as if you worked at McDonalds,” he said. Robert said that at Cycles for Change, the environment is supportive. He knows the people, and he can talk to them and work out problems.
What he enjoys most about working at C4C is the opportunity he gets to take the lead. “You can learn from someone old or from someone young,” he said. “Youth may need guidance but they have their own ideas.”
Robert wants to help more people feel safe on bikes. It’s a wish he might be able to fulfill through a future career, as he’s a math whiz who would like to study civil engineering.
At the Youth Bike Summit, he wants to share the message that youth need to be encouraged and pushed to do better.