2013 Director’s Community Leadership Awards
The Charlotte Division honors Paula Fricke, president of Trips for Kids Charlotte (TFKC), a non-profit organization that provides mentoring for youth between the ages of 10 and 15.
For 14 years, Ms. Fricke has worked with TFKC to mentor at-risk youth through bicycling experiences. In alliance with other youth organizations, TFKC uses mountain biking as a developmental tool to help at-risk youth learn life lessons and coping skills. Ms. Fricke organizes and leads weekly youth mountain bike rides with other TFKC volunteers and has helped the program grow from five rides and 35 participants per year to more than 50 rides and nearly 500 participants in 2013.
In addition to applying for financial grants, organizing fundraising efforts, and recruiting and coordinating volunteers, Ms. Fricke developed two programs designed to encourage ownership and leadership among youth participating in the programs. The Re-Cyclery program involves bicycle repair and resale and offers participants the opportunity to develop work skills and contribute financially to the program through the sale of repaired bicycles. Through the Earn-a-Bike program, children have an opportunity to earn their own mountain bike following the completion of safety, maintenance, and repair courses. In 2012, more than 100 participating children earned their own mountain bike through the Earn-a-Bike program.