In a couple weeks, the Cleveland-based nonprofit Motogo hosts its fifth annual benefit dinner. And if you haven’t heard about Motogo, it’s using engine and motorcycle maintenance to teach middle and high school students mechanical skills at about a dozen institutions in Greater Cleveland.
The program was founded by Skidmark Garage’s Brian Schaffran and is led by Schaffran’s partner, Molly Vaughan. Motogo has been featured in local media — as well as RevZilla’s Common Tread and American Motorcyclist magazine. The March 11 fundraiser takes place at Skidmark Garage – which also is the location of Motogo’s classroom space.
According to Motogo’s website, the program’s mission statement reads, “We teach kids to solve problems through motorcycles.” Motogo offers several courses that use model V8 engines, as well as Honda CB350 engines and full motorcycles for its courses.
Schaffran has emphasized how important the program is for introducing students to more than just motorcycles. He said many students have reported never having held a hand tool before taking part in a Motogo class.
Some of the schools or school systems Motogo is working with or has worked with include Beaumont, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court, Gilmour Academy, Lake Ridge Academy, Laurel, The LBGT Center of Greater Cleveland, Magnificat High School, Saint Joseph Academy, Shaker Heights Schools and The Welsh Academy at Saint Ignatius.
The program adapted to adverse circumstances when the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020. Though in-person instruction wasn’t possible, Schaffran said he constructed a virtual teaching studio in his home’s attic. He also delivered model V8 engines or Honda CB350 engines and tool kits to students’ homes.
Using an array of tablets, Schaffran was able to lead students in tearing down and rebuilding an engine or model engine via a dual livestream setup. The cameras on the tablet array allowed students to observe what his hands were doing with an engine or model from several angles, and Schaffran was able to see live video streams on the tablets’ screens of what the students’ hands were doing via their smartphone cameras.
Tickets for the benefit dinner are $125 and include food, open bar, interactive demos, live entertainment with musical artist Apostle Jones and more.
To purchase tickets or learn more about Motogo, visit its website at http://motogocleveland.com.
Header photo caption: The Motogo classroom space, located on the third floor of the same building Skidmark Garage moved into in 2021. Photo by LR Photography