Program gives free bikes to 200 children

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The children didn’t say much Thurs­day night, but they didn’t have to. Their smiles told the story.

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Monserrath Regino, 4, gets a bicycle from a 551st Battalion Delta Company volunteer during the Santa Wheels program at Master Buick GMC in Martinez.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
Monserrath Regino, 4, gets a bicycle from a 551st Battalion Delta Company volunteer during the Santa Wheels program at Master Buick GMC in Martinez.

Thanks to the Santa Wheels program, 200 children – from toddlers to teenagers – went home with a bicycle after a “bike rodeo” at Master Buick GMC in Mar­tinez.

The donated bicycles were refurbished with parts from Andy Jordan’s Bicycle Ware­house and worked on by volunteers from the community and workers in Goodwill Indus­tries’ training program. Children receiving bicycles were selected through an application to Goodwill’s Job Connections.

Two years ago, three of Col­lier Badger’s children had their bikes stolen. On Thurs­day, all four – Mikera, 6; Michaela, 7; Juanitra, 10; and Aniyah, 13 – went home with new ones.

“We’ve been having difficulty financially, and I wanted to get them bikes this year,” Badger said. ”It is truly a blessing.”

Before receiving their bicycles, children and guardians had to go through a four-step process, three led by Safe Kids East Central, which provided bike helmets and fittings and bicycle safety education. After they were through the stations, they received bicycles from soldiers from 551st Battalion Delta Company, based at Fort Gordon.

Jasmine Oliver, 9, thought she was just coming with her friends to get their bikes. She came with Harold Pinck­ney and his granddaughters Adonis, 9, and Mirical, 10. With her mother, Latonia Darden, watching from the other side of the room, Jasmine got a bike, too.

“Yeah, it was a surprise,” she said. “I was here to get a bike for my friends. The wheels are pretty, the pedals are pretty, and the bike is cute.”

Susan Everitt, Goodwill In­dus­tries of the CSRA’s director of communications, said she loved that the organization was able to be involved.

“We’re thrilled to be able to help children get their first bike,” she said. “Children that wouldn’t be getting a bike otherwise.”

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Jake
31681
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Jake 12/14/12 - 10:49 am
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Christmas Spirit

The smiles on the children's faces says it all. Kudos to all concerned in this worthwhile project.

oldredneckman96
4921
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oldredneckman96 12/14/12 - 10:38 pm
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Bikes for Kids
Unpublished

I really hope they also told the kids how to safely ride their new toys. On a sidewalk and if none exist, then facing traffic, yielding to all vehicle traffic at all times. We have a whole generation of "adults" that do not know these simple rules, every other week or so a headline in the AC will attest to this. Rules to live by, not laws to die for.

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