Awesome SA awards Earn-A-Bike Co-op a $1,000 grant. Photo by Iris Dimmick.
Awesome SA trustees and deans award Earn-A-Bike Co-op a $1,000 grant. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

Awesome SA awarded its monthly $1,000 grant to Earn-A-Bike Co-op (EAB), a volunteer-driven initiative that hopes to spread the use of bikes throughout the city to people of all incomes by providing affordable bicycle maintenance, services, and education.

EAB Founder Cristian Sandoval applied for the grant to fund its upcoming Kids Earn-A-Bike for Christmas program that will take EAB’s services to the residents of the San Antonio Housing Authority‘s low-income housing complex Cassiano Courts – now called Cassiano Homes – at 2919 S. Laredo St.

Cristian Sandoval explains Earn-A-Bike's holiday initiative to give 40 bikes to kids at Cassiano Courts. Photo by Iris Dimmick.
Founder Cristian Sandoval explains Earn-A-Bike’s holiday initiative to give 40 bikes to kids at Cassiano Courts. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

Saturday, EAB will first bring 40 brand new Trek bikes with them to Cassiano Courts on Saturday for a “build day” from 2 – 6 p.m. and a bike safety and group ride on Sunday.

The award ceremony took place at Canvas, one of several OPEN: Downtown Pop Up Shops open on Tuesdays and Saturdays throughout December at 140 E. Houston St.

The Awesome SA deans and trustees announced the winner of the monthly grant amid complimentary wine from Vinously Speaking and beer from Alamo Beer Company.

The brief ceremony for finalists to explain their idea and accept a $1,000 check has traveled to various locations around the center city. The Rivard Report is a media sponsor of Awesome SA, check out previous event coverage here.

Anyone can apply for a grant, the only criteria is that your awesome idea makes San Antonio more awesome. Click here to learn more.

Awesome SA awards pack Canvas, one of several OPEN: Downtown Pop-up Shops. Photo by Iris Dimmick.
The Awesome SA award ceremony packs Canvas, one of several OPEN: Downtown Pop-up Shops. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

This month, all trustees and deans will apply for a grant, and the public will vote for the top three finalists in January. Stay tuned for details on how to view their applications and vote. In the meantime, here were this month’s finalists’ applications:

Kids Building Bikes for Kids by Cristian Sandoval

Here’s my idea:

This year we were blessed to have two amazing kids from the Cassiano Courts go through the Earn-A-Bike program at the Earn-A-Bike Co-op. These two kids wanted a bike. They wanted a bike to go to school, visit their friends, go to the store, and ride to the Co-op. They knew their parents could not afford one and the only way to get a bike was to steal it or come to the co-op and work for it. Luckily they chose to come to the Co-op. Even so there are many other kids at Cassiano Courts who don’t have the resources to visit the co-op and go through the program, and therefore the reason for this grant application.

The Earn-A-Bike Co-op, located at 2619 Guadalupe St. Photo by Erin Hood.
The Earn-A-Bike Co-op, located at 2619 Guadalupe St. Photo by Erin Hood.

Our awesome project is about bringing Earn-A-Bike program to Cassiano Courts the two weekends before Christmas. The project will get new bikes in boxes that require assembly and have the kids earn a bike by attending two four-hour Saturdays, where they will work on their bikes and take the necessary training for safe riding. They will earn their bike in eight hours vs. the 15 hours we require at the Co-op.

To earn their bike, the participants will have to build their bike, take a safe cycling course, and complete the bicycle civics lesson that deals with honesty, respect, safety and the value of work.

This project will require the San Antonio community to get involved, as we will need volunteers to work with the participants and help them through the process.

At the end of the program and during the six months after, the Earn-A-Bike Co-op will follow up with the participants and evaluate key indicators, like school attendance, level of physical activity, workability of the bike and other indicators.

How I will use the money:

$500 to purchase 40 bikes (20 boys and 20 girls), $150 to purchase basic assembly tools that the kids will keep to maintain their bikes. $250 for 40 helmets, $100 for marketing and instructional materials.

A little about me:

When I was 10 my father past away. My mother left to work and my outlet was my bike. It gave me peace and I felt free. I learned that if I wanted that freedom I had to take care of my bike and learned fix it. I look back to those years and value what it taught me. I started the Earn-A-Bike coop to give kids on the Westside a safe place where they can come work with their hands, earn their bike, take pride in them and learn what they are capable of achieving with commitment and dedication.

How will this make San Antonio more awesome?

We will be helping kids go to school, stay active, get out from infront of their TV”s, explore their city, ride to the store, have the freedom to get out and do something.

The Art of Collaboration for San Antonio by Melissa Unsell, Benjamin McVey, David Rangel, and Michele Jacob 

Here’s my idea:

Open: Downtown Pop Up Shops is a Center City Development And Operations Department Initiative to activate downtown and raise awareness of the vacant properties available. Downtown residents, visitors and workers will have an exciting opportunity to support local entrepreneurs and help authenticate downtown as a vibrant urban space for retail while eliminating the emptiness of these.

Local, handmade jewelry for sale at Joyarte during the 2013 OPEN pop-up shop on Houston Street. Credit Page Graham
Local, handmade jewelry for sale at Joyarte during the 2013 OPEN pop-up shop on Houston Street. Credit Page Graham.

“The Art of Collaboration for San Antonio” will participate in this “pop up” initiative with two spaces:

  1. Canvas: A Pop-up Wine Gallery and Art Bar at 140 E. Houston St. and
  2. Ame: Studio and Art Space :115. E. Travis St. in the Milam Building.

These pop-up spaces are open Tuesdays and Saturdays from 12-9 for the whole month of December, offering amenities and experiences in spaces which would otherwise be left vacant during this time. Canvas offers Revolucion Juice/Coffee during the day and Alamo Beer/Wine Tastings in the evening while featuring local artists with art to sell. Other local chefs will participate, too.

Ame acts as a working collaborative studio and art space featuring local artists with art to sell as well. Both of these spaces will be activated with free programming and public events, including artists’ talks, music, DJ SLM, and DJ SteReyo sets and hosting events for Loop and even Awesome SA Award Party. The partnership is between the landlords, the City, and the participants.

Several artists will be exhibiting: HOSA, Sara Brooke Lyons #1005 faces, Anel Flores, Peter French, Analy Diego, Tuesday Phelps, Mat Kubo, Shannon Gowen, Javier Trevino, Jack McGilvray, Shea McGilvray & Lance Higdon Sound Artists, and other potential artists. There has been media coverage and we would love to share the Awesome SA message and support through all of our outlets and in our spaces as this initiative is truly awesome for activating downtown and addressing the issues of vacancy in our most significant parts of our downtown core. Travis Park is steps away as well as the riverwalk.

How I will use the money:

Melissa, Michele, Benjamin, and David are all donating their time, work and efforts as well as purchasing event insurance for both spaces for a total of $400. Each space needs a daily food health permit to serve product per health codes in these spaces for a total of around $540. Signage for the artists and spaces cost $60.00. The musicians, DJs, and organizers are not being paid but donating their time for this awesome initiative.

A little about me:

Melissa Unsell is an active member of LOOP, wine blogger and owner of Vinously Speaking. E-Discovery Marketer, and is passionate about activating the downtown core. Benjamin McVey is a multidisciplinary artist and adjunct professor at UTSA. David Rangel is a freelance photographer for the San Antonio Current, the Rivard Report, and Centro San Antonio and is passionate about all things culinary. Michele Jacob is a consultant, artist, and city organizer for PechaKucha San Antonio.

How will this make San Antonio more awesome?

This will make San Antonio more awesome by activating the vacant spaces during this beautiful holiday season and assist with building our downtown core. If we were to win the additional grant money, more programming could happen (paid) and cover all of the out of pocket costs to add additional vendors and participants.

The Climbery by Doug Brown

Here’s my idea:

The Climbery reuses an industrial warehouse structure to bring two of the worlds hottest on-going trends in fitness to San Antonio: indoor rock climbing and yoga. The Climbery is located between the Hays Street Bridge and the Alamodome, and shares its location with the urban farmers of Local Sprout. Together, its locational efforts bring forth a practical use of its facility to better the surrounding community. Local Sprout will harvest more accessible and affordable organic hydroponic produce; the Climbery will introduce a completely different side of fitness with competitive climbing walls, unique 14-foot climbing boulders, a climbing cave, workout area, and yoga studio.

The LocalSprout warehouse at 503 Chestnut St. Photo by Iris Dimmick.
The LocalSprout/Climbery warehouse at 503 Chestnut St. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

My goal in providing SA with the Climbery is 1) To officially bring an indoor climbing facility to SA where futurist climbers can be born and grow 2) to satisfy the crying need of HUNDREDS of existing climbers in SA. Climbers in SA are eager for an indoor place in SA dedicated to climbing and training that is close to home. Currently, the closest training areas are in and surrounding Austin and Houston. My personal goal in providing SA with the Climbery is to give back in a big way to the well-being of San Antonio.

How I will use the money:

The $1,000 grant money will allow me to update my current prototype-climbing wall and construct another wall to include floor padding.

A little about me:

I was born and raised in San Antonio. Both my parents have worked in construction and manufacturing which helped nurture what I’ve always naturally loved to do which is build and be creative with my hands. I’ve worked six years at an emergency veterinary clinic as a veterinary technician though eventually leaving to pet-sit and groom animals full time. I started rock climbing four years ago and built my first climbing wall four months ago.

How will this make San Antonio more awesome?

The Climbery, alongside Local Sprout, is awesome because it offers people a means to better health:

  • Physical health. Climbing and yoga are addictively fun ways of getting in shape.
  • Social and Emotional health. Climbing and yoga naturally build communities of people with the same interest
  • Spiritual and Intellectual health. Climbing helps people see more of what life has to offer by helping them think outside the box and problem solve. Climbing continuously puts climbers in challenging situations. Climbers learn to think for themselves, push past challenges, and continue to progress forward.

Local Sprout will harvest more accessible and affordable organic hydroponic produce especially in the area of which its located, i.e. the Eastside Promise area; the Climbery will share in providing a means of better health from the exercise that comes with rock climbing and yoga.

*Featured/top image: Awesome SA trustees and deans award Earn-A-Bike Co-op a $1,000 grant. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

Related Stories:

Awesome SA Returns to Alamo Street Eat Bar

 Awesome SA Finalists: Fruit, Roots, Seniors, and “S.O.M.E.”

Awesome SA July: $1,000 for Photography ‘Life Book’

Awesome SA Stays Golden with Music, Movies, and Math

Awesome SA Popping Up in Travis Park

This article was assembled by various members of the San Antonio Report staff.