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Anti-gang initiative results in opening of Lucky 7 Bike Shop

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Miss Sunnyside princesses Toni Castillo (far left) and Jaylyn Cervantes (second from left) attended this past Sunday's Miss Washington USA and Miss Washington Teen USA pageant in Burien. The duo took a moment to meet other royalty from across the state including, (L-R) Mrs. Snohomish County Jessica Riggs and her daughter, Mrs. Watcom County Laura Hunger and her daughter Little Miss Washington Isabelle Banks, National All-American Miss Pre-Teen Nicole Renard, Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen America Samantha Brown, Mrs. Seattle Tamara DePorter and Mrs. Washington International Julie Rzechula.

What was once only an idea to help Sunnyside's youth is now a reality as Lucky 7 Bike Shop has opened its doors.

The shop is the result of the anti-gang initiative spearheaded by Sunnyside's Promise.

Since early this year community members graciously willing to volunteer their time and energy toward projects, helping youngsters learn valuable life skills and beautify neighborhoods, have been meeting with Sunnyside's Promise.

One group of those community members decided the idea of providing youngsters the opportunity to repair and build bikes would be beneficial to the youth.

The bike shop opened this past Tuesday and will be open each Tuesday and Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m., according to Dan White and Ann Bardell.

The pair are working with Julie Kerr, Phil Schenck and Dina Bootsma, as well as other volunteers, to make the bike shop a lasting experience for the youngsters choosing to participate in the bike repair program.

"There has been a lot of work put into the program as a result of volunteer efforts," said White.

Bardell added, "Not all of us has much experience repairing bikes, so we would love to have more volunteers."

The program, a worthy cause to those working with the youngsters, is set up to teach youngsters how to dismantle a bicycle to its bearings before reassembling it.

"They get to know the bike intimately," said White.

Both he and Bardell said the youngsters who are participating in the program are learning mechanical skills they can put to use in other areas of life.

The youngsters choose a bicycle from the nearly 100 available at the Lucky 7 Bike Shop. All of the bikes were donations.

After selecting the bicycle the youngster would like to eventually own, he or she dismantles the bike and reassembles it piece by piece.

To keep the bicycle, the youngster must "pay it forward," according to Bardell. By that, she said, the youngster will teach another youngster the process of repairing a bicycle.

"The program teaches them to interact with others and they will go through a safety course as part of the requirement for owning the bicycle they worked on," said White.

The program, said Bardell, has been made possible through donations. The shop is still looking for someone willing to donate bike stands for repairing the bicycles and tubes and tires are needed.

The youngsters, however, will get a bicycle helmet, a light and a reflector in addition to the bike as a result of generous donations.

Some bikes were refurbished ahead of time and are also offered to the public for a suggested donation.

"Anything the community is willing to donate is appreciated, but the suggested donation is so we can continue to buy supplies," said White.

He said the program is expected to last through mid-November "...once it gets too cold."

The group, White said, hopes to re-open the shop sometime in March, when the weather begins to warm up.

Lucky 7 Bike Shop is located in the Grace Brethren Auxiliary building on South Seventh Street in Sunnyside. Youngsters ages 9 to 19-years-old can participate in the program.

For more information or to help with the project, call Sunnyside's Promise at 509-643-4262.

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