Oakland, CA is city with a bad reputation due to a violent crime rate that in 2010 was 247% higher than the state average. Yet amid all the violence, there is positive change and community involvement to be found at The Crucible.
According to their website, "The Crucible is a non-profit educational facility that fosters a collaboration of Arts, Industry and Community. Through training in the fine and industrial arts, The Crucible promotes creative expression, reuse of materials and innovative design while serving as an accessible arts venue for the general public."
I think of it as the place where people go to learn welding skills in order to make art when they're not busy performing with fire. In fact their Fire & Light Soireé and Auction is coming up later this month if you want to support the organization and see a fantastic show.
But it's not fire that makes them the Feel Good Friday story today, it's their youth bike programs, "dedicated to promoting healthy social relationships, self-awareness, and skill building as well as nurturing young people that will grow to be healthy adults both physically and emotionally."
The Crucible has bike fix-a-thons, where they provide bike repair and education for the neighborhood kids. There's a 6-week workshop where kids team up with volunteer mechanics to fix donated bikes. By the end of the workshop they will have fixed two bikes and get to keep one.
Last is the the "Youth Frame Alteration - Hyphy Bike". This is an advance workshop where the participants are taught fabrication skills (welding, grinding, torching) and get to customize a bike for themselves. There's a great article with more detail about this program from Oakland North which you can read about here.
If you're handy with bikes you can volunteer and if you're on Facebook, you can help them win a $25,000 grant from State Farm by by voting for them on their page.
And for those of you in the Bay Area with a bike, it's a beautiful day to get out for a ride!