Almost 40% of the city’s urban youth don’t trust the police or legal system. But United Way’s Rollin’ Strong program is working to change that, with a bike repair program that teaches life skills and builds relationships with our police.
Today, inside a simple brick storefront on Broadway with Rollin’ Strong sign on the window at-risk neighborhood youth are hard at work on bicycles suspended from repair stands. Dozens of bikes in various states of disrepair await in a back room. United Way’s Grant Schubert, Rockford Officer Chuck Keen, and Kevin Polaski from Kegel’s Bike Shop guide the teenagers through a series of common bike repairs and tuneup steps. Over the course of 10 weeks a transformation occurs – in both the bikes and the boys repairing them. Graduates of the program emerge with new-found confidence and trust – and with their very own bike running good as new.
We’re Rollin’ Strong in Midtown, and we’re winning the fight for the future of Rockford’s at-risk youth by introducing them to new skills and role models – and building trust.