Let’s Make Our Used Bikes Useful Again – A Message From One Of Our Members

Recently we received a message from one of our members, Gary Williams, asking for help spreading the word about an Earn A Bike program he started in Reedsburg:
For the last 15 years more or less, I have had an after school “Earn a Bike” program at our school in Reedsburg.  Each year we have close to 100 kids from 4th grade and older that participate.  The program has become a magnet in the community for used bikes.  Three years ago I had the idea to do more with bikes than just have the kids learn about fixing them and then receive one.  I wanted the kids to participate in helping others and connecting with kids in another country.  After some searching, I found that the Dominican Republic had an interested City, LaVega, that wanted bikes.  The first shipment consisted of about 260 bikes along with tools to fix them – our first shipment was not all fixed bikes.  Three of us followed the shipment down there and got to be part of their kick off summer school program. We were received like celebrities and the bikes were very welcomed.  The kids loved getting bikes as a reward for hard work in school. The second year we got to visit classes and give bikes to kids in different schools in 4th and 5th grades.  The kids welcomed us with skits, songs, poems, etc. It was wonderful. The past year we sent them to Methodist churches in the same areas, and once again we were welcomed very enthusiastically. We want to continue this – sending bikes, tools and baseball equipment. We are not only sending bikes but building friendships – we want to develop a Skyping relationship with at least one class there to help our kids see who is getting them and also to practice Spanish, especially our new Hispanic students who will be able to translate for us. Our goal is 260 bikes and many tools again. Money is always welcome – it costs around $5000.00 for the shipping.
Gary
You can contact Gary Williams at soac@rucls.net or (608)-524-2028

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