Earn-A-Bike Project: Making a Difference with Childhood Obesity in North Omaha

September 22nd, 2016 by Live Well Omaha Kids

During Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, Live Well Omaha Kids is spotlighting various organizations and programs which promote physical activity and healthy eating to youth. Today, Pam Nelson, Wellness Coordinator for the Charles Drew Health Center, Inc. talks about their Earn-A-Bike program.

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earnabike_photo1Can you imagine what it would be like to spend your childhood without a bike? Thanks to community partners like Children’s Hospital and Medical Center and Live Well Omaha, hundreds of children earned bikes, helmets and locks since 2012 through the Charles Drew Health Center, Inc. (CDHC) Earn-A-Bike Project.

What you should know about the Charles Drew Health Center, Inc. Earn-A-Bike Project:

  1. The project began in 2012. Fifty students, ages of 8 and 15, applied to earn reconditioned bikes, new helmets, and locks.
  2. In 2015 and 2016, Charles Drew Health Center, Inc. received a $25,000 grant from Children’s Hospital & Medical Center Preventing Childhood Obesity Grant.
  3. More than 450 new bikes, helmets and locks have been earned since 2014.
  4. Students earn bikes by doing four hours of community service, writing essays and attending workshops with their parents. The workshops cover topics of healthy eating, the importance of physical activity and bike safety.  Students are also introduced to the Bike Fix-it-Station located on the CDHC campus.
  5. 100% of the parents that completed an evaluation in 2016 said that participating in this project would increase their family’s health habits.

Earn-A-Bike encourages students to give back to their communities. Here are some of the ways that students gave back in 2016:

  • Helped serve food at Lydia House.
  • Helped cut neighbors’ grass.
  • Helped at church: clean the restrooms, distributed church bulletins and other clean-up efforts
  • Served meals to the homeless.
  • Provided tutoring for non-English speaking students and adults.
  • Participated in neighborhood clean ups activities.

Students wrote an essay on why they wanted a bike. Here are some of their comments:

  • I want a bike to lose weight and get healthy.”
  • I want to ride to school.”
  • I want to ride to the park and play with my friends.”
  • I have wanted a bike for a long time but my parents couldn’t afford it. I am thankful to earn my own bike.”

When asked to share their community service experiences and what they learned, here are some of the students’ comments:

  • I helped out at the community center. I am helping to keep my community clean by picking up trash. We need to keep our community clean, if we don’t do it, no one will.”
  • I like to see the smiles of the people that I helped.”
  • I learned that it’s cool to help people and spread God’s love, but still have fun.”
  • Helping people feels good. I like to make a difference and go the extra mile.”

earnabike_photo2Earn-A-Bike Partners:  Charles Drew Health Center, Inc., has many dedicated community partners that help support the Earn-A-Bike Project.  Special thanks to the 2016 Earn-A-Bike Community Partners: Children’s Hospital & Medical Center Preventing Childhood Obesity Grant, CHI Health, Creighton University REACH Project, Community Bike Project, Live Well Omaha, Two-Men and a Truck, Mid-Town Hy-Vee, Wal-Mart (72nd and Hickory) and United Healthcare.

How Can You Help:  There are two ways that you can help us continue to provide this project for students in the Omaha community:

  1. Help Charles Drew Health Center, Inc. to identify funding opportunities for 2017.
  2. Consider volunteering to assist with the Earn-a-Bike Project.

 Please contact Pam Nelson, CDHC Worksite and Community Wellness Coordinator at (402) 810-9868 or at Pam.Nelson@charlesdrew.com.

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A Message from the Earn-A-Bike Coordinator, Pam Nelson:  I moved to Omaha, Nebraska from Atlanta, Georgia in 2008. I am amazed by the generosity of this community. The students and parents that I have met through the Earn-A-Bike project are always so grateful and happy to have this opportunity.  Seeing children walk away with new bikes, helmets, and locks truly blesses me. In addition to the Omaha community being generous with funding, Omaha residents are equally as generous with their time.  In 2016 Earn-A-Bike had 50 volunteers to assist with the project. It is wonderful people like Madison Haugland, Active Living Coordinator with Live Well Omaha, that keep me going and that make my work with the Earn-A-Bike project so enjoyable. She has served on the Earn-A-Bike Planning Committee for several years. I love her enthusiasm, ideas, and passion for this community.

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” Thank you Omaha for showing our students how much you care.



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