KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knoxville City Council approved an almost $200,000 grant to fund summer programs for underserved youth. The money has been distributed to several non-profit organizations in Knoxville.

One of those non-profits is Two Bikes which is a bike shop dedicated to increasing access to biking in the Knoxville community.

“We opened up just about a year ago and we work with kind of all the people who want to ride a bike but maybe aren’t already cyclists,” said Executive Director of Two Bikes, Mitchell Connell.

The non-profit provides affordable bicycles and free community workbenches. They host donation-based bicycle education classes and pledge to give away half of their bikes for free.

“Right now we’re in the middle of opening the bike school with the City of Knoxville,” explained Connell. “It’s a youth workforce development program dedicated to training local youth on how to work on bikes and how to be great sales associates.”

The City of Knoxville gave them $15,000 from its Summer Opportunity Youth Program Grant to help expand their program.

“So that will give us the capacity to hire two new staff here, a sales instructor and a mechanic instructor. That will allow us to have a three to one student to teacher ratio so we can really give us that hands-on almost one on one attention for underserved youth,” said Connell.

They’re giving youth the tools they need to peddle forward and the opportunities to grow their future.

“Bikes are really cool where everything is right there,” Connel explained. “You get to see it and the machine really isn’t that complicated. So it gives you that hands-on experience where later you can go into automotive mechanics. We’ve had a youth that is from a previous non-profit that went into the military working on stuff, and they use their experience learning the basic idea of how to work on a machine, working on a bike, and then apply that to a lot of other careers.”

Connel added they are always in need of donated old bikes. To find out other ways you can get involved with their programs click here. 

Other programs that will be receiving funding from this grant are listed below. 

  • Canvas Can Do Miracles: $20,000 
  • Shora Foundation: $20,000 
  • SEEED: $20,000  
  • Sols Write House: $20,000 
  • Karate Five Association: $20,000 
  • YWCA: $20,000 
  • My Daughter’s Journey: $20,000 
  • Drums Up Guns Down: $20,000 
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters: $8,350.80 
  • The Bottom: $10,758 
  • Two Bikes: $15,000