Video: Idris Raoufi, KCMO transportation planner at the engineering firm Wilson and Company, started the Bicycle Collective in 2008 with a group of friends and volunteers. His passions for his professional and personal life have the same people and end game in mind. While his philanthropic work literally puts people on bicycles as their main mode of transportation, his day job provides the infrastructure for them to navigate the city safely and successfully.
Raoufi and his friends saw a need for a recycle bicycle shop in Kansas City and decided to try and fill the need. The Bicycle Collective is a free community resource for people with limited to no funds who need to work on, build or obtain a bicycle. This is a unique kind of resource for the community because it focuses “less on charity and more on empowerment,” said Raoufi.
Raoufi moved to Kansas City nine years ago and decided to attend MCC-Penn Valley because of the close proximity to his home and positive reviews from friends and affordability. “Initially I saw MCC as a cost-effective means to get a higher education,” Raoufi said. While attending MCC, he became impressed with the curriculum and the instructors. “The professors were really engaged and really passionate about teaching.” Without the passion from instructors, Raoufi would not have pursued some of the scholarships he was offered.
Raoufi transferred to UMKC and finished his bachelor degree. “Going to MCC helped me develop expectations of what an education could be.” While at MCC, Raoufi said he enjoyed the down-to-earth, casual and comfortable environment.
“At the bike collective, the greatest aspect in my mind is that we help empower people, and I’m sure that teachers at MCC feel similar to the way I feel when they see students out in the real world getting jobs. I’m sure they feel that same sense of empowerment that they’ve imparted.”