Full Cycle is a nonprofit bicycle shop in south Minneapolis that offers a six-month, paid internship program for homeless youth. We employ, train and support homeless youth, teaching them bike repair and hands-on business skills including resume writing, interviewing skills, sales, customer service and overall professionalism.
Our Bike Shop also sells used bicycles and parts and provides professional repair services.
Full Cycle gives away more than 250 bicycles every year through its Free Bike Program to young people who can’t afford one. The bicycle they choose to build or repair themselves is often the first bike they have owned, and their primary means of getting around. Through Full Cycle, young people establish relationships with supportive staff members as they learn how to build and maintain a bicycle.
This experience gives them a break from the stress and threats of the streets helping them cultivate a sense of pride and accomplishment. And the bicycle solves a serious personal transportation problem, supporting their continuing independence.
To connect with and support homeless youth, our community and our Earth through bikes, business and relationships.
More than ten years ago, Director Matt Tennant acted on a hunch and began bringing bikes to his job at a homeless shelter to work on. In the midst of changing a tire or cleaning a chain, kids who had been guarded and withdrawn began to open up and talk with him. The success of this experience proved three things to him:
- No matter what their background, young people love bikes
- Young people want to learn and work
- Engaging in an activity — like fixing a bike — helps people let go of stress and relax
What started in a backyard shed at a local nonprofit has expanded and emerged as a national model of youth-entrepreneurship programs. Today, Full Cycle employs three full-time staffers and offers internships to 16 or more homeless and at-risk youth every year.