National Youth Project Using Minibikes program Celebrates 50 Years
To commemorate the National Youth Project Using Minibikes’ (NYPUM) 50th anniversary, Honda released a new Honda Kokoro™ video with heartfelt testimonials from NYPUM youth, parents, administrators, Honda executives and leaders from the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps, a child welfare and juvenile justice nonprofit organization that supports NYPUM operations. The Honda Kokoro™ video series celebrates the heritage, culture, people, products and community involvement that make Honda unique. “Kokoro” means heart in Japanese.
NYPUM is a national mentoring program for youth ages 10-17 that uses minibikes as a motivational tool to positively affect behavior and academic performance. The program teaches teamwork and responsible riding skills, while providing an opportunity to build self-esteem and develop self-discipline and leadership abilities. Those who excel are rewarded with trips to outdoor public spaces to ride off-road motorcycles and learn about the importance of environmental stewardship. The program is provided at no cost to participants.
“We see daily and immediate positive growth in nearly every kid, every day,” said NYPUM National Director Mark Speller, who has been part of the organization for more than a decade. “Throughout my career, I’ve worked with many youth mentoring programs and projects and I’ve never experienced a more impactful model than NYPUM. To be a part of this type of success – this kind of legacy – is a great honor and inspiration.”
In 1969, Honda thought an incentive for at-risk youth to stay on the right path could be learning to ride a minibike. This idea led Honda to help found NYPUM as its first national philanthropic program in the United States. With the support of Honda and community youth service organizations across the country, including government, nonprofit, and faith-based groups, NYPUM has become one of the most successful mentoring programs in the country. The program serves over 1,500 youths each year.