Saturday, December 15, 2012

What is Experiential Learning?

I recently learned about a used bike drive being held locally, and today I decided to bring my two kids and two of their old bikes to donate. The organization, Suncoast Community Bikes, accepts donations of bicycles which they then refurbish and distribute to locally "disadvantaged children and adults." I had the pleasure of meeting the college student, Ryan Feller, a sophomore at New College here in Sarasota, who began the organization.

The students who work with him have workshop space where they invite local volunteers to give bike repair instruction and guidance. They have an assortment of bikes in their possession which they distribute to mostly homeless people through an agency for the homeless in Bradenton.

I had to ask why he got involved and what he was majoring in. He is working on a degree in social justice. His work with the bikes had given him context to engage meaningfully with local agencies and individuals in need of assistance. His bike passion, essentially, rolled him right into his own internship and the buds of his own non-profit.

In his words, "this healthy, affordable form of transportation provides reliable access to jobs, school and social services, opens new opportunities and empowers people to improve their lives."

This is experiential. This is 21st century. This is how you engage people in meaningful learning. What a great model. This guy's going places, and not just on his bicycle.

Check out the article from the local "Patch" about his work too!

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