Oak Brook Scouts collects bikes for needy
Austin Sabbagha looks over a donated bike with fellow Scouts George Wassel and Joseph Esposito. Sabbagha enlisted the help of 14 fellow Scouts to collect used bikes for his Eagle Scout project. | Photos by Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 6, 2012 12:06PM
As he works toward becoming an Eagle Scout, 16 year-old Oak Brook resident Austin
Sabbagha wanted to do something different for his Eagle project.
Several of his fellow Scouts took part in construction and landscaping endeavors, but
Sabbagha wanted to help people in a different way. Then he remembered a visit to the Oak
Brook Library’s recent recycling event and a company that peaked his interest.
Sabbagha, a member of Boy Scout Troop 14 in Elmhurst, met representatives from
Working Bikes Cooperative. The group takes old or unused bikes and distributes them
to the underserved communities of Chicago, Africa and Central and South America.
“I really liked what they were doing,” Sabbagha said. “I wanted to do something
different from the rest of the troop.
“ I like to go biking and thought it was a good project to work on.”
On Saturday, Sabbagha enlisted the help of his mom, dad and a few fellow Scouts as
he collected used bikes on the front lawn of his Oak Brook home. After a few hours, he
had collected 30 bikes.
“I picked up some bikes (Friday) from people who couldn’t drop them off (Saturday),”
Sabbagha said. “I got some bikes from some people I’ve never heard of.
“They got word from some friends of ours. I thought that was pretty cool.”
The bikes picked up were collected will be sent to Africa. Sabbagha accepted bikes in any condition and even had a
few bike parts to send over as well.
“The bikes are picked up for a good cause in Africa for people who need them to get
water or go to school,” said Assistant Scoutmaster Jeff Sidler. “Some people may just
put these to the curb where they’ll get picked up for scrap metal.”
Sidler says it is the “effectiveness and planning” of the project which will determine
if Sabbagha can attain Eagle Scout rank, but added he was impressed with what the
young Scout was doing.
“I can most likely guarantee that some of these bikes would have been in the trash
without this,” Sabbagha said. “It’s great we can find a new use for them.”