One of the best kept secrets Honda has is the National Youth Project Using Minibikes (NYPUM). It seems that back in1969, 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.
"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."
Mentoring at risk youth ages 10-17 and using minibikes as a motivational tool to positively affect behavior and academic performance, the program impacts more than 1,500 kids annually. 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.
While Honda has been doing this because they believe it is the right thing to do, there has been little word on this great work… until now. To commemorate NYPUM’s 50th anniversary, Honda released their latest Kokoro video featuring 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. "Kokoro" means heart in Japanese.