Huntsville man repairs bikes and mentors kids in the process

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Kids absolutely love to ride bikes. A Huntsville man is using that as an opportunity to mentor kids and teach them about responsibility. For the last year, Trent Griffin has been a Mr. Fix It for children in the north Huntsville neighborhood where he lives. "The Bike Kids", as he calls them, have come to respect and rely on him.

Griffin is a NASA physicist by day and a neighborhood bike specialist by night.

"This is one of the best ways to help them enjoy themselves in the summer," explains Griffin.

Griffin grew up in this north Huntsville neighborhood. About a year ago, he saw something he didn't like.

"I saw a kid riding up the street on a bike that had no tire on one wheel," describes Griffin. "I thought this is really dangerous for this kid."

It turns out that kid had siblings and all six of them were sharing one bike. So, Griffin decided to do something about it.

"I went to a thrift store and picked up a few bikes and restored them and gave them to the kids," says Griffin. "They were really happy and then some more kids came around and then they told some more kids."

Of course, he couldn't say no. The kids don't just get the bikes for nothing though, there are some significant strings attached. He developed a contract that the kids and their parents have to sign before he gives the bikes away.

"Do my homework and try to get good grades," reads Griffin. "I will obey my parents. I will also maintain my bike."

So the kids are not only learning how to ride and fix bikes, they're learning important life lessons about responsibility. It's very rewarding.

"When I went to go talk to a school at an awards ceremony, turns out one of my bike kids got the most improved behavior," shares Griffin.

Griffin is glad to do it and hopes others will look for opportunities to do the same.

"Just because I'm doing this doesn't mean that you have to do this," explains Griffin. "There might be other things that need doing in the community that will allow you to mentor kids. We should all work together to get these kids up."

For this community servant, WHNT NEWS 19 was glad to surprise him with $319.

"Thank you Channel 19!" shouted Griffin.

Griffin is the president of his neighborhood association. Using his role at NASA, he created a program called "Simple Science" where he visits schools in Huntsville and surrounding areas to teach students about easy science experiments they can do at home. It's all designed to get them interested in science, technology, engineering and math.

He's also involved with JCC, the Juvenile Conference Committee, where he deals with the cases of at-risk kids and helps get them on the right path.

If you know of someone like Griffin that's committed to making a difference in our community, please nominate them here.