Working on old and broken motorcycles is not something that usually comes to mind when you think of therapy for young girls. In Mitchell, South Dakota, however, that is exactly what Laura Klock has introduced for residents of Abbott House in the form of Helping with Horsepower.
Abbott House's Executive Director, Eric Klooz, describes the centre as "a sanctuary for girls in South Dakota from the ages of 7 to 17 and primarily, they come here to work on issues and things that have happened in the past that are really probably at present time controlling them and their behaviour."
For these young girls, they are having to deal with daily challenges with their self-esteem and happiness due to events in their lives far beyond their control. Klooz explains that, "they generally will be displaying things like anger or depression" and Abbott House is there to help them deal with exactly those difficulties.
After being approached with a request for sponsorship by Abbott House, Laura Klock, co-founder of Helping with Horsepower, was unable to divert cash from her growing motorcycle shop to help. She desperately wanted to help, however, so she decided to volunteer her time instead.
This initial offer of time soon turned into what is now a nonprofit that helps the girls of Abbott House, as well as raising money for the centre. Klock describes Helping with Horsepower as a nonprofit that "develops programs that empower and encourage, and we help charities raise funds."
The uniqueness of Helping with Horsepower is found in the way they help empower the girls of Abbott House. Klock explains that The Bike Rebuild Program is "a curriculum that I wrote that uses a motorcycle as a tool to teach life messages."
Already in its second year, the Bike Rebuild Program takes an old, uncared for, and broken motorcycle and gives the girls the responsibility of fixing it. Klock takes them through the different steps and always makes sure to relate the lessons they learn about fixing the bike back to their lives.