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October 3, 2011

Donations help save program

Bikes Stolen From a 5th Grade Program at a Washington Heights Public School Replaced by Donations from as Far Away As London

CYCLE Kids, Specialized, and the Bicycle Habitat Came Together to Make Sure Children at the Dyckman Valley School Have a CYCLE Kids Program This Year

Cambridge, Massachusetts, October 3, 2011 – CYCLE Kids Inc., a Cambridge based nonprofit that gives schools an innovative, bicycling-focused physical activity and nutrition curriculum, worked together with Specialized, an international bicycling manufacturer and the legendary New York City bicycle shop, the Bicycle Habitat, to replace bikes stolen from a CYCLE Kids program. These bikes had been donated to the Children’s Aid Society’s Dyckman Valley Community School in Washington Heights by CYCLE Kids and Specialized.

Over the course of the past school year, these bikes directly touched the lives of over 80 young children (9- and 10-year-olds). In addition, the 7- and 8-year-old students in the school wanted so much to be part of the CYCLE Kids program, that the Children’s Aid Society’s teachers developed a version of the CYCLE Kids program for them, even though they didn’t have bikes and were too small to ride the bikes the school had been given.

Without the program this school year, there would have been many disappointed kids. The program has touched both the children and the community, and would have been sorely missed. Thanks to the generosity of many, the program will begin on October 11th. Specialized generously donated bikes and put out a plea to replace these bikes to their fans on Facebook and Twitter, as did CYCLE Kids and the Bicycle Habitat. Within a few days, money was raised from a donor in London who purchased a bike, to a kid in Portland, Oregon, who donated $10 to help make this happen.

The CYCLE Kids program has been a wonderful opportunity for the children at this school. The neighborhood in which these children go to school is really trying to focus their efforts around health, fitness, and lifelong sports in order to support their health and well-being. The CYCLE Kids after-school program fit in perfectly with these goals, and also meant a lot to the students. It is a time where they know they are safe, can have a good time with their peers, and learn valuable lifelong skills. The CYCLE Kids program benefited the children as well as the overall community.

Carolyn Chin-Bow, the Community School Director at the Dyckman Valley School, was thrilled to find out the bikes had been replaced so quickly. “The CYCLE Kids program helps build more than familiarity with a bicycle, but resilience, problem-solving, and teamwork,” she said. She was not looking forward to telling the kids, or their families, that there wasn’t going to be CYCLE Kids program because the bicycles were stolen. At the Community Spring EXPO last May, where children showed off their school work, Carolyn told their families that they would be working hard to get bicycles for the kids in 2nd and 3rd grades to use. Carolyn knew that “...it would have been a real setback for them to hear that instead, we now lacked bicycles for even the oldest of our children.”

To celebrate the generosity of many, a Bike-build is being held on Monday, October 10th, at the Dyckman Valley School, 93 Nagel Avenue, NY, NY, 10040, from 11-3 pm. Volunteers, children in the CYCLE Kids program, and mechanics from the Bicycle Habitat will work together to build the bikes so the children can begin riding again on the following Monday.

About CYCLE Kids:

CYCLE Kids is a Cambridge-based organization that gives elementary schools and community centers an innovative program that helps children learn life skills that go beyond fitness and brings new excitement to school physical education classes and to a child's literacy lessons. The curriculum teaches 4th and 5th grade students bicycle safety and skills, how to make smart food choices, and encourages children and their families to live healthier lifestyles.

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