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Nampa Bicycle Project files for nonprofit status to better connect communities in Canyon County

"We need youth mentors, someone who would be interested in coming into the shop and working with young people," LaRita Schandorff said.

NAMPA, Idaho — A Canyon County organization is trying to connect the community through bicycles. 

For the past year, LaRita Schandorff has been renting a small maintenance building from the Nampa School District where she operates the Nampa Bicycle Project.

"Every afternoon we are open we have kids from the neighborhood drop-in or people just walking by, drop-in, and asking us for bikes," Schandorff said.

At the Nampa Bicycle Project, people can get a free bike or work on their bike in exchange for volunteering at the shop. It is much like the Boise Bicycle Project but on a smaller scale and Schandorff is still working to get non-profit status for her Canyon County operation.

"We have four volunteers and we are open about five hours a week on Thursday and Friday afternoons," Schandorff said.

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In the last year, Schandorff has been operating she says the word has spread about her organization and it's getting difficult to keep up with the demand.

"Kids are working minimum wage jobs coming home at midnight and then going to school the next day and they are walking everywhere they go," Schandorff said. "Or there the family car broke down. There are over 100 bikes we have given away and there is a story for every one of them."

Schandorff says with non-profit status she will be able to get more funding and thus give away more bikes. She also needs more volunteers.

"We definitely need more mechanics and volunteers to maybe sit at an outreach table at the farmers market," she said. "We need youth mentors, someone who would be interested in coming into the shop and working with young people."

For now, Schandorff says she will make do with what she has in hopes to connect as many people to the community as possible.

To learn how to apply for a free bike, volunteer, or learn more, click here.

Gretchen Parsons is an anchor, reporter and producer at KTVB since 2016. You can follow her on Instagram @gretchenparsonsKTVB or  @gretchenKTVB on Twitter.

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