Refurbished bikes given to disadvantaged youth

Last updated on January 2nd, 2013 at 09:36 pm

300 bikes distributed

Volunteers help the students choose their new bicycles.

Two hundred elementary school students, ages five to 10, were given like-new bicycles and new helmets on Dec. 8 as part of Hands On Nashville’s ReCYCLE for Kids program, presented by Cummins and in partnership with the Oasis Center. An additional 100 bikes will be given to children this week.

ReCYCLE for Kids provides refurbished bikes, new helmets and basic safety education for economically disadvantaged students who receive services from Hands On Nashville’s partnering nonprofit agencies.

“When you’re a kid, your first bike is such an important part of feeling independent and having fun—not to mention a great way to exercise,” said Hands On Nashville President/CEO Brian Williams. “The ReCYCLE for Kids program has engaged community volunteers in giving these deserving students a bike to encourage fun and active lifestyles.”

To kick off HON’s ReCYCLE for Kids effort, nearly 100 individuals and businesses donated kids’ used bikes to Hands On Nashville during the month of October. Then throughout November, more than 300 volunteers refurbished all of the bikes at the Oasis Bike Workshop—cleaning, repairing and returning the bikes to like-new condition.

The Oasis Center partnered with Hands On Nashville to provide the space, equipment and expertise to complete the refurbishment process. Dan Furbish, coordinator of the Oasis Bike Workshop, said this effort is important because bicycles are such a source of empowerment for young people.

“For many, this will be their first bike,” said Furbish. “A bicycle allows them to explore beyond the confines of their home or neighborhood, and offers the opportunity to establish an active lifestyle and the freedom to explore our city.”

Saturday’s grand giveaway event at Rocketown Nashville was the culmination of these volunteer efforts to provide the bikes and to make them road-ready for the students. After receiving a free bike and helmet, each student completed a skills course and took part in road safety activities. More than 200 volunteers helped to facilitate the event. Overall, the effort engaged more than 600 community volunteers, including young volunteers ages 11 to 18 who participate in Hands On Nashville’s VolunTEEN Program, and many volunteers from Nashville’s business community including Emma, Jackson, UBS, Starbucks, Cassidy Turley, Walgreens, The Buntin Group, Team Wilson and Cummins.

“Many low-income families can’t afford a new bike due to tight budgets and the reality that a bike has a useful life of only one to two years for growing kids,” said Josh Inman, sourcing director for Cummins Filtration. “ReCYCLE for Kids takes used bicycles and gives them to these kids, who otherwise may not have had the chance to own a bike. Cummins is proud to be a part of this community effort.”