RE:CYCLING Project Provides Bicycles to Children at the Johnson City Boys and Girls Club


Faculty and students from the College of Public Health donated 21 bicycles to community children at the Boys and Girls Club of Johnson City and Washington County on Wednesday, July 29.  The children were allowed to “test drive” the bicycles and then submit their names into a drawing for the bicycle of their choice. 

The program is known as the Re-engineering: Contributions to Youth Charity and Learning Innovation and New Idea Generation (RE:CYCLING) and consists of two parts—refurbishing bicycles for local children and using bicycles to design “machines” that can improve the quality of life in low resource areas.    The bicycles used in RE:CYCLING were donated by the Johnson City OmniSource location.  OmniSource Corporation is one of North America's largest processors and distributors of scrap and secondary metals. They collect, process, resell, and trade a wide variety of ferrous and nonferrous scrap.

The program is led by Mike McKamey, Instructor in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology.  He stated, “We choose bikes suitable for refurbishment, while salvaging parts from other bikes that may be less suitable for repair and distribution.” 

The program partners with several organizations within and outside of the College of Public Health.  The Public Health Student Association in the College of Public Health donated helmets for each bicycle received.  Hampton Trails Bicycle Shop discounts the helmets purchased and needed tools and supplies.  They also examined all bicycles for functionality and safety before donation.  Plans are being developed for future collaboration and training with the shop.  The owner, Brian White, is Barnett Bicycle School certified and retrains yearly to keep abreast of new technology.     

In another phase of the RE:CYCLING program, the bicycles are repurposed as unique and innovative problem-solving techniques.  McKamey states, “The RE:CYCLING program highlights efforts to solve public health issues using locally available technology.”  They may be used to convert human power to products needed in a low resource population.  Some examples provided by McKamey include movement of water, generation of electricity, grinding or husking of corn or grains, and yarn/mercantile production.  According to McKamey, “Maximizing available resources as reflected in the RE:CYCLING process addresses the need for sustainable techniques designed to alleviate public health inadequacies on site.”  Early prototypes of projects such as bicycle powered spinning wheels and water pumps have been constructed at the Valleybrook Campus.   

All phases of the RE:CYCLING program take place at the ETSU Eastman Valleybrook Campus in Kingsport, where the College of Public Health holds its ESSENTIALS course and related training programs.  



"The RE:CYCLING program highlights efforts to solve public health issues using locally available technology.”  

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