Inspiring Youth Project: Wheels of Compassion

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It’s often said that when you fall off your bike, you must get right back on! But what if you don’t have the bike in the first place? Not everyone has access to the same opportunities, which is why one Roots & Shoots group in Dexter, Michigan, decided to get involved with their project, 🔗 Good Spokes

It started when group leader—and Roots & Shoots National Youth Leadership Council member—Everett Step 1: Got Inspired to create positive impactful change in the world. By keeping aware of global issues through traditional news and social media, he Step 2: Observed how many people in developing countries had limited access to work, to education, and to health care. He also observed that one possible reason for this was the lack of public transportation bringing people to these resources—usually located in bigger towns and cities. With the help of the 🔗 compassionate traits he has fostered through 🔗 Roots & Shoots, Everett wanted to do something to solve this issue. 

Of course, it’s difficult to make a difference on the ground when you live in another country, so Everett had to get a bit creative, and act locally while thinking globally. In order to Step 3: Take Action, he first researched organizations online that were helping people in these countries get to the resources they need. He quickly came across 🔗 World Bicycle Relief, saw how they were providing bicycles as an alternative to public transportation, while also providing jobs by employing local community members. He knew immediately that this was work he wanted to support.  

How did he do this? With art! Everett set up an 🔗 Etsy shop selling bike-themed crafts, including small wire bikes, greeting cards with bicycle drawings on them, and even hand-carved linocut prints. He called it “Good Spokes Goods”—a creative combination of the good folks helping in his Roots & Shoots group, and the spokes on the wheels of the bike art he was selling. This shop allowed his group to raise money to fund the work that they were so inspired by. 

Over the span of several years, Everett’s Good Spokes group raised about $2,550 for World Bicycle Relief! To Step 4: Celebrate the success of this Etsy shop, Everett has since expanded his fundraising to include several other organizations, including the 🔗 Jane Goodall Institute! Through the power of art—and the “good spokes” who make it—Everett’s group supported communities in countries with socioeconomic challenges, community-led conservation, coastline protection, and more! 

INSPIRED TO START YOUR OWN PROJECT? WE GOT YOU. 

Once you’ve signed up as a member and come up with a project, be sure to register it on our website for a chance to be featured in a future project of the month! Not a Roots & Shoots member yet? You’re only a few clicks away! 

Become a Member and Register your Project 

Not sure how to start a project? Use our 🔗 4-Step Formula to find ways to make an impact in YOUR community! Remember to invite your friends to help out, because even when we take small actions, they’re multiplied by collaboration. You can even create a Roots & Shoots group at your school, or join one already in your area! 

Create or Join a Group 

Looking for a simple way to help out? Here are some 1-click actions you can take to spread compassion! 

🔗 Hear Many Sides: The best way to help the world is by first understanding perspectives different from your own. Start with this short video! 

🔗 The Write Amount of Good: Create encouraging cards for friends, family members, and even strangers to help grow kindness in your community. 

About Author

Kira is a Communications & Policy Assistant at the Jane Goodall Institute, where she supports the team in advancing public engagement with JGI's holistic programs. Kira graduated from Smith College in 2021, majoring in anthropology and minoring in art history, and during her time there she developed a deep interest in the field of anthrozoology. Her interests within this field are broad, and have led her to study elephant iconography in the U.S. and wildlife management in Tanzania. JGI's values and mission as well as the mindset of anthrozoology guide her work, exploring the interactions between humans and other animals in order to promote a healthier coexistence on this shared planet.