Ballard Yeates, of Olathe, Kansas, volunteers time fixing bicycles for children in foster care

Ballard Yeates, of Olathe, Kansas, volunteers time fixing bicycles for children in foster care

An Olathe, Kansas, man is volunteering his time to fix donated bicycles for children in foster care. When CASA volunteer Ballard Yeates opens his garage door, he is really opening his heart.”They won’t be new, but they’ll be rideable,” he said.Yeates said he likes fixing bikes and he has spent the last 14 years volunteering with CASA, helping kids who have to live in foster homes.”Not much goes with them,” he said.His volunteer work created an idea that started spinning in his head. He decided to take older, donated bikes and refurbish them to give to kids in foster care.”I think it gives the children a sense of independence,” Yeates said. Yeates takes the donated bikes apart piece by piece and repairs the brakes, greasing the chain, and makes it into a reliable, rebuilt bike.”Sometimes it takes two bikes to make a good, new bike,” he said.Not all parts are universal.”It’s kind of like me trying to fit a Chevrolet part on a Ford. It doesn’t always work,” Yeates said. When the foster child gets their new bike, everything seems to work.”It gives them something to do, something that’s theirs,” said Natalie Julien, from CASA of Johnson & Wyandotte counties. Yeates said that in four years, he’s put together around 60 bikes. He not only fixes the bicycles, but he also goes on bike rides with the kids he gives them to.”Sometimes I get pretty exhausted because they go for a mile or 2 miles,” Yeates said.

An Olathe, Kansas, man is volunteering his time to fix donated bicycles for children in foster care.

When CASA volunteer Ballard Yeates opens his garage door, he is really opening his heart.

“They won’t be new, but they’ll be rideable,” he said.

Yeates said he likes fixing bikes and he has spent the last 14 years volunteering with CASA, helping kids who have to live in foster homes.

“Not much goes with them,” he said.

His volunteer work created an idea that started spinning in his head. He decided to take older, donated bikes and refurbish them to give to kids in foster care.

“I think it gives the children a sense of independence,” Yeates said.

Yeates takes the donated bikes apart piece by piece and repairs the brakes, greasing the chain, and makes it into a reliable, rebuilt bike.

“Sometimes it takes two bikes to make a good, new bike,” he said.

Not all parts are universal.

“It’s kind of like me trying to fit a Chevrolet part on a Ford. It doesn’t always work,” Yeates said.

When the foster child gets their new bike, everything seems to work.

“It gives them something to do, something that’s theirs,” said Natalie Julien,
from CASA of Johnson & Wyandotte counties.

Yeates said that in four years, he’s put together around 60 bikes. He not only fixes the bicycles, but he also goes on bike rides with the kids he gives them to.

“Sometimes I get pretty exhausted because they go for a mile or 2 miles,” Yeates said.

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