BOISE - The Boise Bicycle Project is celebrating its ninth anniversary this year.
BBP has given more than 10,000 bikes to people in the community since it started in 2007.
"I remember growing up the freedom, the independence, the opportunity I felt leaving my driveway for the first time, and that's something that really stuck with me,” executive director and founder Jimmy Hallyburton said. "We love bicycles, we love to ride, but what we really love is what bicycles can connect people to."
That’s why he has made it his mission to make sure anyone can have a bike no matter their income. But it’s not something that happened overnight.
"I can remember when we were just in our garage - just two people in the cold,” he said. “No heat, no running water, no air conditioning, and the volunteers just started pouring in."
Nine years later, the nonprofit has a fulltime shop and is continuing to grow. BBP is expanding its workshop, adding office space and a classroom for after-school programs, and even having space for other nonprofits to use.
The Boise Bicycle Project tries to help the community in more ways than just providing bikes. One mission is making the roads safer for bicyclists through the Max Campaign.
"One of the kids who got a bicycle from us, (Maximo) Wyatt, was hit while he was riding with his father and almost killed.” Hallyburton said. “The community really rallied behind Max in the Max Campaign to the point where we were actually able to get a meeting with the governor who changed laws... so now everybody who goes through driver's ed has to learn about bicycle and pedestrian safety.”
Hallyburton credits that success, along with many others, to the volunteers. He said these people have the same goal he does.
"It's that idea of being able to join with others and do something bigger than just what I can do on my own,” said Jonathan Wilkes, BBP board member and volunteer.
"I feel like I'm really doing something good and I'm helping the community even though I'm just a kid,” said Clarissa Wilkes, a 15-year-old volunteer. “I can still help my community."
The Boise Bicycle Project's Christmas Kids Bike Giveaway is coming up. For more information about that and other BBP youth programs, click here.
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