Ballard Yeates, of Olathe, Kansas, volunteers to fix bikes for foster kids

A man from Olathe, Kansas volunteers his time to repair bicycles donated for foster children. When CASA volunteer Ballard Yeates opens his garage door, he truly opens his heart. “They won’t be new, but they will be rideable,” he said. The idea that started swirling around in his head. He decided to take older bikes and refurbish them to give them to the foster children.”I think it gives the kids a sense of independence,” Yeates said.Yeates dismantles the donated bikes piece by piece and fixes the brakes, greases the chain and turns 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 trying to fit a Chevrolet part on a Ford. It doesn’t always work,” Yeates said. When the adoptive child receives his new bike, everything seems to work. “It gives them something to do, something that belongs to them,” said Natalie Julien, of CASA of Johnson & Wyandotte Counties. Yeates said that in four years he had assembled about 60 bikes. Not only does he repair the bikes, but he also goes on bike rides with the children he gives them to. “Sometimes I get pretty exhausted because they go a mile or 2 miles,” Yeates said.

A man from Olathe, Kansas volunteers his time to repair bikes donated to foster children.

When CASA volunteer Ballard Yeates opens his garage door, he truly opens his heart.

“They won’t be new, but they will be passable,” he said.

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

“Not much is wrong with them,” he said.

His voluntary work gave birth to an idea that started to spin in his head. He decided to take older bikes and refurbish them to give to foster children.

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

Yeates dismantles the donated bikes piece by piece and repairs the brakes, greases the chain and turns 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 trying to put a Chevrolet part on a Ford. It doesn’t always work,” Yeates said.

When the adoptive child receives his new bike, everything seems to work.

“It gives them something to do, something that belongs to them,” said Natalie Julien,
of CASA of Johnson & Wyandotte Counties.

Yeates said that in four years he had assembled about 60 bikes. Not only does he repair the bikes, but he also goes on bike rides with the children he gives them to.

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

Wiley C. Thompson