Orange County-based nonprofit launches bike business

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Build Futures’ mission is to enable homeless, runaway and at-risk youth ages 18 to 24 to become independent, contributing members of the community by connecting them to housing, employment, education, medical and mental health care,  legal assistance, and life skills.  Their comprehensive case management approach connects youth to a trusted one-on-one supportive mentor and offers a customized self sufficiency plan.

In order to support their mission and help meet the needs of the youth they serve, Build Futures recently launched a social enterprise business – Bikes Build Futures.  The nonprofit business will receive donated bikes, recondition them and resell them to the public.

Through this business, Bikes Build Futures will be able to employ youth they serve and help them take the first step to self-sufficiency by fostering confidence in their ability to find and succeed at employment.

These deserving homeless youth will have an opportunity to learn basic job skills, receive bike transportation, and be able to apply basic life skills to help themselves into a better situation.

With the launch of Bikes Build Futures, the organization has an immediate need for donated or low-cost space and volunteers.  The space will be used to store donated bikes and provide a dedicated location for on-the-job training.  Volunteers are needed to help transport bikes and equipment.

Additionally, the organization is always looking for reliable, committed volunteers to serve as one-on-one youth mentors.

Did you know that there are 25,900 documented homeless students in Orange County public schools?  Or that youth ages 18 to 24 are the most underserved segment of the homeless population?  Or that 70 to 90 percent of the homeless population in Orange County has no housing available to them on any given night?

A study by Martha Burt of Urban Institute found that the longer a youth or young adult is homeless, the higher the risk that he or she will become a chronically homeless adult.  Homelessness has serious consequences and long-term implications for youth, young adults and communities. The hope of Bikes Build Futures is to play a significant role in shifting homeless youth off the streets and into independent, contributing members of society.

To volunteer or donate space, contact Kathy Tillotson at Kathy@BuildFutures.org.  For more information about Build Futures visit www.buildfutures.org

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