Community Development and Youth Job Training
Village Wrench – Greenville, S.C.
- Emerging Leader: Jessica Compton
- Grant Program: Emerging Leader
- Amount of Grant: $15,000
- Dates of Grant Term: February 2020 – February 2022
Jessica Compton serves as the first full-time program director for Village Wrench in Greenville, S.C. Village Wrench is one of four social enterprises under Mill Community Ministries, an umbrella organization that seeks to do transformative work in Greenville. A native of Charleston, S.C., Compton graduated (summa cum laude) from Roanoke College, Salem, Va., with a degree in literary studies and a concentration in peace and justice studies. Through a Global Grant Rotary scholarship, she went on to obtain a master’s degree in teaching for secondary education in New Zealand in 2016. In 2017, Compton moved to Greenville to teach high school English at the highest poverty school in the county and also found a home at Village Church. One year later, Village Wrench’s volunteer-led organic growth reached a head; Mill Community Ministries decided to invest in a full-time director, and Compton was hired.
The mission of Village Wrench is to build relationships with community members and empower leaders through bike repair, bike earning, and cycling educational opportunities. With the grant, they plan to expand workshop open hours from 15 hours/week to 32 beginning March 3, 2020. This will enable an increase in the number of at-risk youth apprentices employed in the shop and opportunity for greater experience for each of them. The additional hours will also offer greater access for community members to earn bicycles or be able to repair their bike in the workshop’s public repair space themselves. Over two years, eight teens will thoroughly develop hard and soft job skills in a bike shop, and 100 elementary and middle school students will practice character strengths and bike repair through 6-Cycle summer camps, Village Wrench’s youth program.