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Meet Maddie, a SLU student and volunteer Learn-To-Ride and Earn-A-Bike champion

The BWorks crew would like to take a moment to celebrate Saint Louis University psychology student Maddie Robb, who has been volunteering her time and expertise with us in an incredible way this spring semester.

As part of a capstone course for her psychology graduation requirements at SLU, Maddie chose BWorks as a human services provider with which to volunteer significant time throughout the semester. Like so many of our incredible helpers, she has gone above and beyond for BWorks, and we are so grateful! All told, she’s worked with 10 different groups of Learn-To-Ride and Earn-A-Bike students. That is an incredible investment in the youth of St Louis.

We recently asked Maddie to reflect on her amazing efforts at BWorks (which continue!). She told us that when she was looking at recommended volunteer sites on SLU’s website, BWorks immediately stood out.

“I love working with kids, and biking was a huge part of my childhood — and is still a big part of my life — so volunteering at a place like BWorks seemed like a perfect fit,” she explained.

Maddie said she’s appreciated how each week’s Earn-A-Bike lesson builds on the week prior, developing skills that students will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

“It is really cool to see how engaged students are when taking part in activities like helmet decorating, tire patching, and taking apart and rebuilding the bikes,” Maddie said. “I have also enjoyed learning more about bikes alongside the students. For example, while assisting with one of the Earn-a-Bike classes, I learned that the first bikes ever created were made out of wood!”

As she’s helped coach groups of Learn-To-Ride students over the past four months, one moment looking back that really stands out to her is the first time she saw a student go from being unable to ride a bike to being confident enough to pedal all by themselves.

“We had been working on gliding all day, and this student had been working so hard on getting used to not looking down and being able to balance enough to earn their pedals,” Maddie recalled. “It was exciting to see the moment everything clicked and they were ready to try pedaling. It was even more exciting to see them pedal successfully and see how enthusiastic they were about the prospect of now being able to bike to school!”

She added that the whole experience has also had her thinking back to her own journey as a child, learning to ride a bike.

“I can remember how difficult going from having training wheels to not having them was. I definitely think I would have learned how to ride a bike much faster if I had learned how to balance without training wheels first!”

Maddie described her time with BWorks as a big highlight of every week — so much so that we may not have to say goodbye just yet as she looks toward her next school year at SLU.

“After seeing the impact BWorks has on its students, my passion for working collaboratively with others to make a difference in my community has only grown,” she said. “This volunteer experience has taught me so much and volunteering at BWorks has been so fun that I hope to continue to volunteer at BWorks next semester as well!”

(Maddie is in the back row on the left)