Ways for adults (19 and older) to Volunteer at Back Alley Bikes
Maintenance Volunteers: Maintenance volunteers help us maintain our space by sorting donations, building bikes for our Youth Give-a-Way program, cleaning the space and general upkeep of our warehouse. Maintenance Volunteers work in the shop on Wednesday and Thursday nights.
Volunteer Youth Instructor: Volunteer youth instructors work with youth during our Youth Earn-a-Bike or Youth Ride Club program. These volunteers really love working with youth and want to directly help our youth out to learn bicycle mechanics and safe riding.
Volunteer Youth Instructors are required to get a central registry clearance through the Department of Human Services and have a separate orientation to attend. To get your central registry clearance, please fill out this form and take it to your local DHS office. You can find your local DHS office at this link. (*note – this is all free)
If you live nearby, we recommend going to the Canfield office (we’ve found their staff to be super helpful.)
Transport Volunteer: Transport volunteers assist us with their personal motor vehicles. No orientation is necessary. Just be willing to donate some time and gas to picking up donations, delivering bikes to youth or helping us take scrap to the yard.
Cool, sounds good – how do I sign up?
Fill out this online application and we will contact you to come to an orientation. An orientation is required before you begin volunteering.
Can you list some tasks that maintenance volunteers do?
Of course! If you can help us with any of the following, please contact us:
Cleaning (sweeping, washing, organizing)
Helping to pass out/hang up fliers for our events
Pairing bike frames with compatible parts to get it ready to build
Building bicycles for our Youth Give-a-Way events
Organizing a bike drive/fund raiser event to benefit the shop
Or if you have a special skill to share we have had volunteers shoot video, paint signs and build storage for us. If you have a special skill that could help us, let us know!
Okay, that seems easy, I want to do it all!
Well, it isn’t always that easy. You see people come here with all sorts of experience. Building up bikes and working with our youth are “top of the ladder” positions as a volunteer that we don’t just hand out to everyone that walks in the door. This is why we ask folks to volunteer over a period of time to hone their skills with us.
We would like to trust everyone that comes in the door that they are a professional mechanic but it only wastes our AND your time to put someone in a position they aren’t ready for. It doesn’t help us get kids out on bikes and it doesn’t help your learning. If you’ve got the skills you’ll eventually work your way up. Keep an eye on our calendar for a schedule of volunteer trainings.
To keep things even we start everyone at the same spot to develop a volunteer team instead of promoting a few folks to the top leaving others in the dust. Lets all work and learn together alright?
But I worked at (fill in coop or shop name here) for years!!!!!
Cool! Then work your way in, it’ll be just fine. Besides it’ll take you sometime to get used to our shop and the way we do things anyhow. Previous bike shop experience does not make one a rock star, but if you have your heart in the right place, you can be very helpful to us.
But I have never touched tools in my life!!!!
Cool! We have opportunities for you to learn. Like we mentioned, putting someone on a task that is beyond their ability is not helpful to anyone, so we’ll find jobs that are at your skill level but also provide learning opportunities. To learn more though, we highly encourage all our volunteers to attend our Adult Mechanic Classes. Lacking experience doesn’t make you useless, but if your heart is in the right place, you can be very helpful to us.
I heard that if I volunteer for 20 hours I will get a bike for free.
That would not be true at all, sorry someone played that joke on you. There are some “perks” to volunteering but that is not one of them. Youth are able to earn bikes in our Youth Earn-a-Bike program, but adults are not eligible to earn bikes from us.
Anymore questions that you didn’t see printed here?
If you have additional questions please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Heather at her email address – Heather (at) thehubofdetroit (dot) org