For vulnerable teenagers without a support system, finding necessary daily resources can be a challenge. Tropical Scooters in Largo is hoping to alleviate that need. For its second year, the motorcycle company is donating bicycles to teens who are either aging out of foster care or reintegrating into the community after exiting the juvenile justice system. The bikes will be distributed to the pre-selected teens Saturday, December 9, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Tropical Scooters located at 11594 Seminole Boulevard, Largo.
Michelle Stanley, owner of Tropical Scooters, began the bicycle donation last year. Since the company provides “wheels” for adults through the sale of motorcycles and scooters, they wanted their donation to involve “wheels” for young people.
“These are more than just bicycles, they are pathways to independence. It’s a way for these teenagers to go to work and school, to feel confident and productive,” says Michelle. “If there is anything we can do to support forgotten teens, we are going to do it.”
This year, the company has selected teenagers from Ready for Life and Eckerd Connects’ Project Bridge as recipients of the bike giveaway. Project Bridge provides transitional services to boys and girls ages 11-21 reintegrating to their home communities from juvenile justice programs. Young people receive vocational training, academic assistance, and mentorship to help them avoid re-entry into the criminal justice system.
“These bicycle donations are going to help us in our mission to build well-rounded teens who have access to the resources they need to be successful,” says Curtis Campogni, Project Bridge Program Manager. “Our teenagers have faced some challenges but they are so determined to get back on track.”
For those who would like to donate toward the cause, contact Michelle Stanley at email@example.com, call the store at (727)397-6400, or drop by any time to give in person. Gift cards, money, and new adult-sized bikes are all accepted.