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St. Louis BWorks has been staying busy for the past 9 weeks.

Much like many of you have been learning new practices or honing skills, so has St. Louis BWorks. For the past several weeks, we have been adapting and learning what it will take for BWorks to continue our legacy of helping youth in our region for another 30 years. Our volunteers and staff have been working hard, albeit mostly behind the scenes these days, to readjust while continuing to support St. Louis area youth. The adjustments include learning to work and volunteer remotely, creating and implementing online courses, and determining new ways to offer our bicycle-related retail products.

What we’re doing

Programs 

We continue to offer our Earn-A-Computer program online so students can learn remotely. 

Our bike program is working to release a handful of projects that we hope our students will enjoy. Our first, what we think is fun and educational, project can be found here and involves youth helping redesign closed streets and being eligible for prizes. 

We continue to donate bicycles to various other nonprofits to be distributed in the community.

After discussions with other schools and the local health experts, our earliest possible reopening of in-person programs will be mid-July.  

Contact for programs: Linda.Tuch@Bworks.org 

Contact for donations: Patrick.Van.Der.Tuin@Bworks.org

Volunteering

Physical volunteering in our building will continue to be suspended. We are, however, starting to work with a few volunteers to arrange taking material or tools to volunteer from home. Our big needs on the bicycle side right now are adjusting wheels and bike builds. Please let me know if you’re able help with this in some way. Patrick.Van.Der.Tuin@Bworks.org 

Retail

We continue to offer limited retail operations through our website and are attempting to expand this to include bicycle parts. You can reach Steve or Patrick to discuss bicycle sales or Jake (see email addresses below) to discuss what parts you need (or think you need). We will do our best to provide the highest level of support possible. 

We understand bicycle purchases during this time can be hard as we are not allowing test rides, but as always, we have staff willing to help from providing extra pictures to specific measurements. Please do contact one of us. At this time, we are offering store credit if, for some reason, the bicycle does not fit you well, or just won’t work for other reasons.     

For bicycle sales: info@Bworks.org 

For bicycle parts: Jake.Daggett@Bworks.org    

Donations 

Bicycle donations are still needed! We have placed a bicycle rack in front of our building with a series of cable locks on it. You can simply drop off your bicycle donation(s) at any time and use the included locks to secure your donation. We are also continuing to accept donations at these locations as well. 

IF you have multiple computers to donate, we are happy to arrange a bulk curbside pickup; you can email us to discuss this more at info@Bworks.org

What we are NOT doing is opening for walk-in traffic on May 18.

We are taking the CDC guidelines seriously as we care about your health and ours. We will only open our doors to the public when we are confident that we can safely follow best practices outlined by health professionals and not overcrowd or compromise your or our experience in the building. 

We cannot wait until we can see and work with you in person again, but we want to remain safe for all involved with our organization. Until then, thank you for your past and current support of St. Louis BWorks. Please stay safe and we will see you when it’s the right thing for all of us. 

Patrick Van Der Tuin 

Executive Director

Patrick.Van.Der.Tuin@Bworks.org 

www.Bworks.org 

Reimagining Our Streets: St. Louis BWorks Calls For Ideas From Citizens Of All Ages

May is National Bike Month, and with so many quiet streets right now, we thought it would be a good time to reimagine what some of our streets here in the St. Louis region could look like. And we want your — or your child’s — help.

A first pass by 6 year old Max, Includes tables for local restaurants, A place to play bean bag toss and a dedicated lane for bicycles and roller skates.

What would Washington Avenue in downtown St. Louis look like if it was covered with picnic tables instead of vehicle traffic? Would Fine Arts Drive next to the Saint Louis Art Museum be better as a street art gallery for chalk drawings? Or maybe with the uptick in walking and biking these days, you have a great idea for making your own neighborhood a better place to hang out. What would your non-motorized street look like?   

St. Louis BWorks believes the world needs good ideas now more than ever, and wants to showcase yours — and give St. Louis-area kids a chance at some cool prizes while we’re at it. Two kids ages 5-12 or 12-18 (one in each age range) will win a refurbished bicycle, light set and a new helmet from BWorks by reimagining what a local street could be. (In addition, the first 100 youth entrants will be rewarded with a free set of blinky safety bike lights.)  Adults are encouraged to enter as well, both for bragging rights and because sometimes adults have good ideas, too. 

Scoring will be based on a system where a total of 30 points is possible: 

  • Overall design and display (1-15 points): We want to see how you can redesign streets. Get creative — we are leaving it up to you to decide if you want to draw this, paint it, build it out of cardboard, paper, legos, etc. It’s your choice! 
  • Choice and complexity of street (1-5 points): Picking a street is important. Consider that a small street with lots of homes might be harder compared to a medium or larger-sized street. Consider who or what businesses or nonprofits are on the street and how they might contribute to your design.  
  • Diversity (1-10 points): Making room for diversity and the wide-ranging abilities and interests of people is important. Consider how you can include different areas for activities that would attract all sorts of folks. For example, your design could include both picnic tables for a restaurant to make the most of a street as well as a path for bicycle riders and/or pedestrians. 

To submit: 

In order to participate in the contest, email your (or your child’s) entry to events@bworks.org with the subject line “Street Party” no later than May 31, 2020, at midnight.

Your entry should include the following: 1) at least two images of what’s been built, created or designed; and 2) at least two paragraphs explaining and describing the ideas (the more details, the better!); 3) the entrant’s name and age, plus the name of a parent/guardian for entrants under 18 years old; and 4) the name of the local street that has been reimagined.
One entry per person, please. Light sets will be awarded to the first 100 youth who enter.  

Coronavirus Impact (Updated 3/16)

Friends of BWorks, 

Like many of you, our attention is focused on the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Our number one priority is the health and wellbeing of our students, volunteers, and staff. We are closely monitoring this situation through guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as local health officials. 

BWorks will temporarily be suspending all public operations till at least 4/3/20. Classes / Volunteering and Retail are all closed. For those of you who have signed children up for classes starting soon, we will contact you through email to discuss your options.    

We have begun increased sanitation measures in our building; including access to more hand sanitizers and cleaning high touch surface areas more often both during the day and at the end of each day.

In addition, we are instituting an expanded employee sick leave policy that will cover all staff that encourages them to make healthy choices and stay at home while sick.  

For the health and safety of others, please be thoughtful about coming into BWorks if you are exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

With so many unknowns about the coronavirus, we are erring on the side of caution and following recommendations of our health professionals and will continue to make decisions about current conditions that affect BWorks’ programs and volunteering.

Stay well, 
Patrick Van Der Tuin

Create-A-Book Student Blog

My Crazy National Park Trip
By Lenore U.

Once upon a time, I left home with my mother and went on a trip to many Northwestern national parks. This meant a lot of camping and braving the great outdoors. I was scared! I knew that tornadoes were not uncommon and we’d be in Bear Country. And then there were the geothermal features of Yellowstone…

We had to take a long and stressful trip into South Dakota. From there, we went to Sioux Falls and Wall Drug (the huge store with everything!). Mount Rushmore was our next stop.

Finally, we went to Mammoth Dig Site. It was so much fun until we were racing to the car. I won the race. My prize? As I rolled down the ramp, I tumbled onto the parking lot and earned a concussion and a trip to urgent care. >:-( Luckily, going out for ice cream helped a lot. I even met a famous archeologist, who gave me his book and even signed it! I felt much better and from there left South Dakota.

We went to a campsite, about a mile or two from Devil’s Tower. Devil’s Tower, millions of years ago, was a volcano. It oozed out sticky lava that plugged its vent, causing the volcano to become extinct, or die out. The lava cooled as the cone of the volcano eroded, leaving the plug standing. Back to topic-we watched Steven Spielburg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Then, we visited the tower itself.

The tower is beautiful!

We then stopped in Cody to watch the rodeo, and it was their first night doing it! Fun, fun, fun!

Our very last attraction of the trip was Yellowstone. It is the largest national park in the USA, and for a reason: over half of the world’s geothermal features are in this park, including two-thirds of the world’s geysers! The place reeked of sulfur(which smells of rotten eggs), and we had to stay on the trail to avoid getting cooked by the boiling water. However, the place was beautiful! I was sad to go home, but I was very homesick.