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Regional Occupational Program (ROP)

Contact Info

Mark Hodges
Mark Hodges
Senior Director,
Regional Occupational Program

Jim Howes
Jim Howes
Assistant Director,
Regional Occupational Program
(831) 254-0695

Michele Cuartilon
Department Office Coordinator,
Regional Occupational Program

Main phone #: (831) 466-5760
Fax: (831) 466-5769

Visit the Regional Occupational Programs web site:

Division Pages
Student & Personnel Services: Regional Occupational Program (ROP)

ROP and Cycle Forward: Bicycles for the Homeless

Eli Young with representative from the Homeless Services Center

Eli Young with a representative from the Homeless Services Center

Article Update: Eli Young Testimonial
Hi, my name is Eli Young and I took the ROP Bike Tech course as a senior at San Lorenzo Valley High School in 2015. I have always loved bikes since I was little. I have been riding bikes since before I can remember.

I decided to take ROP Bike Tech because I always had very positive experiences with all of the other ROP classes that I took throughout high school. The ROP teachers go above and beyond to give their students the best experiences and, most importantly, I learned real world skills that I use every day...
[ Read more ]

Eli Young is a forward-thinking San Lorenzo Valley High School soon-to-be graduate. Eli, who has just completed the Level 1 Bicycle Mechanics certificate in ROP Bicycle Technology (sponsored by Project Bike Trip) at Scotts Valley High School, recently brought his love of working on bicycles together with his commitment to community service in a unique project he started called Cycle Forward. Cycle Forward is a bike loan program consisting of a fleet of refurbished bicycles, new helmets, locks, lights and materials on road safety, all designed to benefit the patrons of the Homeless Services Center in Santa Cruz. The staff at the Center will be taking on the day-to-day administration of the program. The users of Cycle Forward will have access to bikes without the expense of maintenance, the costs of which could be a barrier to the process of transitioning out of homelessness.

Eli Young with his dad

Eli Young with his dad

Eli's Cycle Forward program is sustainable because of the continued support of the next class of ROP Bicycle Technology students and, as Eli will be attending Cabrillo College, he can also continue to oversee the program in conjunction with Ms. Kilpatrick, the ROP Bicycle Technology instructor. Eli had some help from his dad, a graphic designer, in setting up the program, as well as help from his church, Peace United Church of Christ, in raising the funds to refurbish the bicycles.

One of the main lessons Eli and his fellow students learned from their research was that bicycles could be a part of the process of changing lives for individuals who might not have any way to get around quickly, simply, and with autonomy. Eli met with the staff at the Homeless Services Center to determine if Cycle Forward could be of benefit and coordinated the launch of the program during a time of sudden funding crisis at the Center.

Cycle Forward bicycles

Cycle Forward bicycles

Eli Young with ROP instructor Ms. Kilpatrick

Eli Young with ROP instructor Ms. Kilpatrick

The whole process has also benefitted students who practiced procedures on a wide range of the donated older bicycles, by offering a "real world" goal, highlighting the strengths of the ROP (Regional Occupational Program) philosophy: development of real skills and real industry experience.

Article Update: Eli Young Testimonial (continued from above)
I took this course at the Scotts Valley High campus since it was not offered at my campus, and found that it was well worth the short drive. My instructor, Therese Kilpatrick, was amazing; she taught me so much about working on bikes throughout the year. I also learned a lot about myself during this time, realizing that I wanted to make use of the new skills I had acquired.

I started by using my new knowledge to create a bike loan program for the Santa Cruz Homeless Service Center. I raised money and received donations of used bikes and the rest of the ROP Bike Tech students and I worked together as a class to restore them. This project is one of the most rewarding things that I have ever done. The whole class had so much fun restoring all the bikes and getting them in great working condition so that they would be a reliable source of transportation. This project also helped all the students to greatly improve their skills as mechanics by working on bikes with problems that came directly from use and riding and not problems that were manufactured for the class.

This class also allowed me to gain the skills I needed to get hired in a bike shop. I currently work at Epicenter Cycling on Mission Street in Santa Cruz. This job is very rewarding, I enjoy every day of it. I work with amazing people who all share the same love for bikes that I do and I also get to see happy customers who also love bikes. This local community of bikers is something that I did not realize existed until I started taking the ROP Bike Tech class. I have made so many friends through this class that I never would have otherwise.

This class was one of the best things that has happened to me. I made many friends that all share my passion for bikes. I can also say that I have helped out the community in a positive way, an opportunity I am very grateful for . Since ROP Bike Tech I have made positive changes in my life and I am proud of the person that I have become.

Here are some photos of a handful of my biking adventures!

Eli Young Pictures
Bicycle leaning against railing

Santa Cruz County Office of Education  |  400 Encinal Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060  |  831.466.5600  |  Fax: 831.466.5607
The Santa Cruz County Office of Education provides quality educational programs and services to a diverse community.