PORTLAND (NEWS CENTER Maine)--
Fading light couldn’t stop the celebration at Portland Gear hub Wednesday night. The non-profit took the evening- to recognize students and volunteers in the Portland Gear Hub Bike School.
Ainsley Judge is the Portland Gear Hub director. She said, "Our 'Bikes for all Mainers' program is 90% new immigrants and new Mainers. We do a lot of translations in our classes."
Gear Hub fixes and sells used bikes and accessories for other outdoor activities to fund the school. Several of their programs give people free access to bikes after going through biker safety and some mechanical training.
"We give you not just a bike but tire levers, a patch kit, a saddle bag, a pump, a lock, helmet, lights," Judge said.
The School is open to kids and adults. Student Soraia said she loved learning about her new ride: "Specific parts of the bike, like the front brakes and the back brakes, where they are and how to fix them."
12-year old Mohamed Abdalla earned a bike through the school months ago. Now- he teaches kids at the school how to change their tires. He says it’s his way of giving back.
"It’s just important that we help each other in this community, because I didn’t know anything until Ainsley, Sarah, and Tucker here helped me. So yeah I was like if people help me I should help other people too," Abdalla said.
Portland Gear Hub said they want to use their resources to make new Mainers feel welcomed and empowered.
"If they’re seeking asylum, they can’t work right away and they’re relying on general assistance. So they might be going to Portland Adult Education for classes, or they might be going to interviews or meeting with lawyers and having a bike to be able to get there is huge," Judge said.