What it Means to Ride a Bike…

July 23rd, 2013 by Live Well Omaha Kids

By Kay Grant, Live Well Omaha KidsKayGrant

I remember my very first bike. I was eight years old and my family had just moved overseas to a military base where I didn’t know anyone. The day we moved in, another family was having a little garage sale.  That’s when I saw it – in all its green, gold and orange glory, with a flower on the banana seat.  A neon orange flag that stood up straight and tall from the back of the seat waved proudly in the breeze. To me, this bike meant independence. It helped me make friends in a strange new place, and it got me where we wanted to go – the candy store down the street.

Many children may never own a bike and experience this sense of independence, or to have a bike as an outlet to be more active. In the true spirit of community, Charles Drew Health Center, in Kay helping child with bikeconjunction with Alegent Creighton Health, Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, Activate Omaha, MAD Dads of Lincoln, and many wonderful community partners and volunteers, held their second annual “Earn a Bike Project” on June 15, 2013. Pam Singleton Nelson, the Charles Drew Health Center Wellness Director, coordinated the event. Festivities during this event included mini-seminars for over 50 kiddos on the importance and benefits of being active and eating healthy, a bike safety seminar, and planting mulch on the Charles Drew grounds.  But their good work didn’t stop with the mulch!  The children also provided a service in their community such as mowing a neighbor’s lawn, helping with something at church, babysitting a sibling, or whatever it might have been to help a neighbor.  So for all of their efforts, these children received their very own bike and helmet.

In the mayhem of fitting helmets and bikes on the very excited KidsonBikesCDHCchildren, I found my legs locked in place, only to look down and see a little guy with his arms wrapped around me for a hug.  All the planning and bike refurbishing had been worth it for many obvious reasons, but that moment, for me, really helped me see that we had helped kids not just earn a bike, but also that sense of wonder, excitement and exhilaration that is part of every bike ride.

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