I am a Bike Club volunteer

Shawn Gaetano, Tulsa Remote Transfer

Shawn GaetanoHow does Bike Club help kids with the skills to be future entrepreneurs?

A recent Tulsa transplant thinks he knows.

Tulsa Remote, the program to bring remote workers to Tulsa, caught Shawn Gaetano's eye over a year and a half ago. Gaetano was living in Cleveland, OH working in IT. He wanted a new challenge and created his own tech start-up with two other partners. They started Solace Vision, which is AI for video game development.

But he also wanted a new place to call home. That's when Tulsa Remote popped up on his radar.

"I was looking for somewhere that would be more helpful to what we were building," said Gaetano. "A lot of the big names come up: LA, New York, San Francisco, and Austin. But Tulsa looked really interesting to me because of the affordability and the technology start-up ecosystem."

"I visited Juneteenth weekend here to speak on a panel and fell in love."

Since his arrival, Gaetano has had an awesome experience and received funding for his start-up.

His move coincided with a new activity too. "I had just started riding mountain bikes in 2021," explained Gaetano. "It was an awesome new hobby."

Shawn GaetanoAround the time he picked up the mountain bike, Lance Miller with Bike Club reached out with a volunteer opportunity at Hawthorne Elementary.

The timing of picking up a mountain bike and volunteering was perfect. Gaetano enthusiastically told me what it meant to him. "Just being able to share that joy and excitement with these kids has been an incredible experience. It's been a really cool way to share that passion with these kids."

Gaetano lamented not having this growing up in Scranton, PA.

"Having Bike Club growing up would have been cool", said Gaetano. "Not just for friendships and lifelong bonds with other kids, but also for knowing adults and mentors."

"It's cool to see friendships born out of Bike Club," said Gaetano.

Gaetano said there are so many other things Bike Club teaches besides riding bikes.

"It's been cool to see the bike skill side, and how much they've improved," Gaetano said. "The social skills too!"

He sees leadership skills develop. He also sees how kids learn to listen as well. What's really fun to watch for Gaetano is seeing kids come out of their shells with their peers and adults alike.

"All of the kids have improved in some way since we started," said Gaetano.

Shawn GaetanoGaetano sees Bike Club through the eyes of a fan of bikes and an entrepreneur. He sees the long-term benefit of how Bike Club benefits the future endeavors of students.

Gaetano says one of the greatest challenges facing Oklahoma is the workforce.

"I think Bike Club molds a significant person," Gaetano said. "Bike Club teaches leadership skills in such a profound way."

Gaetano says he is certain there is a profound difference between a child that participates in Bike Club and one who does not.

"In the long run," Gaetano said, "all of these programs like Bike Club, are teaching these kids the necessary skills they need to be tech entrepreneurs or whatever field they want to work in."

Gaetano summarized the difference programs like Bike Club can make for kids from his own experience.

"I was super shy as a kid," said Gaetano. "And seeing these kids progress, that was super shy at the beginning and then opened up and being awesome kids..."

"Something like that is going to produce really awesome people."

If you'd like to help mentor really awesome people and have a blast while doing it, please contact us.

Read more volunteer stories

Stories by: Andy Wheeler
Photography by: Melissa Lukenbaugh