Bike Host Circle – Multilingual Cycling Ambassadors

Organization Sponsor: CultureLink

Organization Partner: Toronto Cyclists Union

URLs: 

Program Description

Through the unique partnership between the Toronto Cyclists Union and CultureLink Settlement Services, cyclists are helping make Toronto more welcoming for newcomers, and newcomers are experiencing more of Toronto by bike. This summer and fall, we are offering a new award-winning partnership program called Bike Host Circle, to match volunteer mentors with newcomer “mentees” who cycle.

Over half of adults in Toronto are born outside of Canada. Through the unique partnership between the Toronto Cyclists Union and CultureLink Settlement Services, cyclists are helping make Toronto more welcoming for newcomers, and newcomers are experiencing more of Toronto by bike.

Bike Host mentors are matched with two or more newcomer cyclists. Mentors share their experience and skills as a cyclist, volunteer with mentees at cycling-related events, help their mentees learn about their new city, and go on group rides. In return, they learn from the rich experiences and perspectives of newcomers to Toronto. They receive training about newcomer settlement issues. And they gain transferable skills in leadership, group facilitation, goal-setting, creating workplans, and evaluation.

To qualify, a Bike Host mentor must enjoy cycling, have their own bicycle, and be interested in sharing bike culture with newcomers to Toronto. Additionally, a Bike Most mentor must be:

- 19 years of age or older

- Able to lead a small group (2-4) of mentees

- Demonstrate abilities to motive people

- Able to get a criminal clearance letter (cost will be covered by CultureLink)

- Able to commit 30 volunteer hours plus 6 hours of training, over 6 months

Program Approximate Cost: 

free

Funding Sources: 

Bike Host is funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Strategies For Sustainability: 

CultureLink is a settlement organization that is both old and new. We have over 20 years’ experience in developing and delivering settlement services to meet the needs of diverse communities. Passionate about providing innovative services to newcomers, we adapt to changes and create new programs that best respond to and address our clients’ specific needs. Our team of 50 staff members, speaking more than 30 languages, is dedicated, knowledgeable, and multicultural.Cycling is a growing trend globally and we want to learn from international experiences to make Toronto a safer, healthier and greener city.

Evaluation Tools: 

Program Planning and Evaluation is a part of all programs and services.

Key Elements Towards Success: 

newcomers who ride a bicycle can be matched with Canadian mentors with CultureLink's Bike Host program. They will gain valuable Canadian experience in community outreach and event-planning, while learning about the rights and responsibilities of cyclists in Toronto.

"Volunteering with CultureLink's cycling program has been a great way to network and practice my skills in my new home," says Lynda Young. She immigrated to Canada in 2010 from Singapore, where she worked as a teacher and organized cycling events. She recently landed a contract with the Toronto Cyclists Union.

Challenges To Meet Them: 

Marketing to attract volunteers and participants. Participants are also matched to volunteer. Culturelink regularly host workshops about fun and safe cycling in Toronto, at libraries, community centres and schools around Toronto. They are experienced at media and marketing and publish regular e-bulletins.

Length and Stage of Project: 

This program began June 2011.

Attachments: 

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