PHOENIX — An immigrant from Sonora, Mexico has been a driving force to change people’s lives in the Valley, one bike at a time.
“I want to cry. I don't know what to say. It’s just, it’s a good feeling. I feel like I have a purpose in life which is to help,” expressed Guadalupe Francisco Villegas known as “Frank” by friends and coworkers.
Frank has been working for a year now at St. Vincent de Paul’s bike shop. His passion for repairing old broken bicycles and his dedication to help people has provided a second chance to low income families.
“We give these bikes life, a purpose, and then we give them to people. They use these to go to the store, school, doctor appointments, to look for jobs and once they find a job they go from a bike to a car and that’s how we help them,” stated Frank.
Frank knows the importance of second chances. He once needed help and found hope at St. Vincent de Paul. He was 20 years old when he migrated from Caborca, Sonora, Mexico to Phoenix. He says he faced many challenges along the way, he didn’t speak English and was close to becoming homeless.
“If you work hard, if you want it and you ask you can do it. It is possible.”
Repairing bikes is not only a job for Frank, it’s a way to give back to an organization that once helped him and to a community that has always supported him. He says he hopes he can be an example for his kids and grandkids and a motivation to other immigrants.
“It’s incredible what you can do when you have two wheels to move instead of walking.”