On November 17th, the Better Bike Share team led an Urban Riding Basics class and group bike ride for two cohorts of corps members from PowerCorpsPHL.
PowerCorpsPHL is a City-run AmeriCorps program that launched in September 2013. The program is designed to support Mayor Michael A. Nutter’s environmental stewardship initiatives, as well as the City of Philadelphia’s youth violence prevention and workforce development priorities. PowerCorpsPHL enrolls 100+ youth annually in a program that provides participants the opportunity to develop the necessary skills to become environmental stewards, secure meaningful work, and become civically engaged members of society.
After a behind-the-scenes tour of Indego’s warehouse and an Urban Riding Basics class reviewing rules of the road and strategies for safely riding in the City, 15 corps members, and a few Better Bike Share Partnership (BBSP) staff members pedaled together to nearby Penn Treaty Park, where some of the corps members mentioned they’d recently worked on repainting railings and more. The crew admired views of the Ben Franklin Bridge and chatted a bit before rolling back to the Indego warehouse.
This class and ride was just one part of an ongoing partnership between BBSP and PowerCorpsPHL. Fun fact: PowerCorps members were a part of the Indego launch event in April, and their alumni have been employed as Street Team members doing community outreach work.
Two of the first PowerCorpsPHL alumni to join the bike share team were Chilon Carroll and Jaleel Williford. They were hired as Street Team staff to further BBSP’s outreach efforts. Azephra Hamilton, Better Bike Share Community Liaison with the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia (BCGP) and coordinator of the Street Team, said that PowerCorps had already provided Carroll and Williford with job training, so when they came to BCGP they were ready to get to work.
Carroll had this to say about her transition from PowerCorpsPHL participant to BBSP Street Team staff: “My experience with PowerCorpsPHL was amazing. I had one of the best crew leaders, Mike Herrmann, who was there every step of the way. I had my ups and downs even to the point where I thought I wouldn’t be successful in finishing my hours, but the PowerCorpsPHL staff was so devoted that not only I finished one term, I successfully completed another term. That right there speaks for itself. I’m so grateful to have been a part of an organization of motivated individuals who are there to help me succeed. If it weren’t for Margy Wilcox I wouldn’t have been a part the BCGP Street Team. Because of her, I am where I am and I’m happy that Jaleel and I opened the door for future PowerCorps members to be a part of our journey.”
Most recently, the Better Bike Share Partnership launched a pilot program with two of this year’s PowerCorpsPHL crews. Eighteen corps members, most of whom rode with us to Penn Treaty Park, are participating in a pilot program that provides discounted passes to help them get to their training program work sites. During the job placement assistance process, participants will be encouraged to use Indego as transportation option.
In their first week, the participating members rode an average of ten times!
Stay tuned for more from this awesome partnership!
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia does outreach and education on behalf of Indego, and their work is made possible by the Better Bike Share Partnership, an initiative funded by the JPB Foundation, which seeks to create a socially equitable and replicable bike share model for Philadelphia and beyond.