Taylor Given is on a mission to get her community rolling.
The New Albany High School senior is organizing bicycle-donation drives and a bike-to-school day for her senior-seminar project.
Senior seminar is a New Albany High School graduation requirement in which students research an idea and create a product or complete a project; they must document 80 hours of work.
Given, 17, said she knew she wanted the project to help her community. She said she focused on bike donations after her father, Mitch, suggested working with Franklinton Cycle Works, a nonprofit organization that refurbishes bikes to those in need.
She liked the idea of helping people find a solution to commute to their jobs, she said. And for children whose parents are unable to drive them places, a bike "opens up the world to them," she said.
Given's first bike collection was Aug. 10; from that drive and other donations, she collected 24 bikes and nine helmets.
Franklinton Cycle Works co-founder and executive director Jonathan Youngman said new helmets are preferred as donations because used ones could be damaged and not guarantee protection. However, he said, used helmets still are accepted and Franklinton Cycle Works employees always tell people the risks when they take them.
Given's next drive will be from 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 1 at the Philip Heit Center for Healthy New Albany, 150 W. Main St. In addition to bikes and helmets, locks and lights are desired donations, she said.
The bike-to-school day for New Albany-Plain Local School District K-6 students is planned Oct. 4. It will help promote physical activity and healthy habits for students, Given said.
She said she plans to have fellow high school students volunteer to direct the students as they ride, and she also wants to share videos on biking and walking safety.
Although she has her driver's license, Given said, she grew up cycling everywhere.
Her father, she said, is a "big bike person."
"I guess it kind of like rubbed off on me," she said.
Cycling is a healthy activity and is an environmentally sound transportation choice, Youngman said.
The activity also creates more vibrant communities, he said.
"It's easier to wave to someone when they're on a bike instead of in a car," Youngman said.
Above all, transportation is crucial, he said.
"Without transportation, I mean, you're stuck economically and in a lot of other ways," Youngman said.
Founded in 2010, Cycle Works was rooted in a desire to connect with the community, he said.
When Youngman moved to Franklinton in 2008, he and his roommates, Jonathan Ryder and Greg Lanham, noticed that cycling was a popular means for transportation in the community, he said.
However, the community lacked bike shops for maintenance, he said.
The trio outfitted themselves with wrenches and went out to front porches and sidewalks, helping primarily children fix up their bikes, Youngman said.
They also began bringing their tools to the outdoor service at St. John's Episcopal Church, 1003 W. Town St., and its free meal on the corner of Central Avenue and West Broad Street.
The men soon began getting donations to fix up bikes and give them to members of the homeless community, Youngman said.
"When you're new to the neighborhood and you look a little bit different, it's really nice to have a way to connect with other people," Youngman said.
Now the nonprofit at 897 W. Broad St. provides work stations with tools for bike maintenance, he said.
Volunteers are on hand to coach people through the process. The service is available Tuesdays and Thursdays for $5 per hour and is free Saturdays, he said.
Inoperable bikes donated to the organization are salvaged for parts, while the rest are available for community members to "earn" for themselves, Youngman said.
Children can earn bikes by learning about basic maintenance and road safety, and adults can volunteer in the facility for $8 an hour in in-store credit to purchase bikes, Youngman said.
The bikes can be sold for $40 to $400, depending upon quality, he said.