During my time at CMC, I often doubted myself and asked why I was going to school for “Sustainability.” I knew deep inside it was what I actually believed in and what I wanted to do, to leave the world a better place, but I never fully understood the impact one person could make in this seemingly twisted, careless world.
I was often beaten down by the doom-and-gloom aspect of sustainability. With so many problems facing our generation I constantly asked myself, how is this going to actually help? Then I remembered something I wrote in one of my papers, “Sustainability is thought process.”
I realized that even the well-trained have to constantly work to better their way of being. We have to better the environment around us, we have to better the thought processes of the people around us. We have to use any and all tools of the past and present we have acquired over the span of our existence. I was so focused on what to do with what I had learned in school, that I was bypassing many of the tools in my quiver from years past.
So, I took my 15 years of bicycle maintenance experience and applied it to a dream I had when I first started working on bikes in Wisconsin. I could combine my experience and passion, with my newfound knowledge of social enterprise, grant research and grant writing, and apply it to the social inequality of Boulder County.
In July 2016, I launched Chain Reaction Bicycle Service. My fiancé and I are empowering the underserved population of Boulder County, utilizing bicycles as a vehicle of change. Our flagship Earn-A-Bike program aims to teach young people, Hispanic youth in particular, bicycle maintenance skills. This would equip them with real-world, tangible skills, and empower them with the tools to become self-sufficient.
The students that really like it could apply at their local bike shop and have an opportunity to enter the work force. Just as I continued to work towards bettering myself, I now have the opportunity to help do the same for others.
I have held basic classes and have given away 20 refurbished bicycles. Our partners are Zeal Optics, Whole Foods and Boulder County. We have a full-service bike shop and five portable bike maintenance stations used to teach classes.
I firmly believe that if you have the courage to start, you can make it succeed. Keep growing, change paths, find new questions which will provide the answers to how we attack the new problems. Start doing what you want. It’ll pay off.
Read more about the Sustainability Studies bachelor’s degree.