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March 13, 2010

Programs Donated to Somerville, MA


Julianne Idlet
CYCLE Kids, Inc.
5 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA  02138
Phone: 617-721-2543

Somerville Public Schools Receive a Program Grant from CYCLE Kids to Help Fight Rising Rates of Childhood Obesity

Somerville, MA (March 10, 2010).  While a national concern for the increasing rates of childhood obesity is beginning to take root, CYCLE Kids continues its six-year battle against childhood obesity in Somerville, MA. Following on the heels of the announcement of Michelle Obama’s initiative to fight childhood obesity, CYCLE Kids and the Somerville Health and Physical Education Department will introduce 5th graders to the notions of exercise and good nutrition through the fun of riding bicycles during the school day.

CYCLE Kids received a generous grant from a New York Foundation, making it possible to give schools in the City of Somerville a total of 50 new Specialized bicycles, 125 new Bell helmets, 5 bicycle pumps, 300 reference books for participating students, an engaging fitness and nutrition curriculum, as well as training for physical education teachers. The CYCLE Kids program will begin the week of April 5th. Hundreds of children over the next several years will benefit from this grant.

Tim O’Keefe, head of the physical education department, is enthusiastically coordinating the logistics for the successful implementation of the program in each of the schools. Tim remarks, “CYCLE Kids is an exciting, fun program that will give Somerville students the knowledge and skill sets to help benefit their health and wellness now and throughout their lifetimes.”

The Somerville Police Department will participate in the program by assisting in safety training, teaching children how to ride, and possibly coordinating safe bicycle rides off school grounds. CYCLE Kids encourages the entire school community and the community at large to get involved by volunteering in the schools or by helping to reinforce healthy habits outside of the classroom.

“I am very excited about this opportunity CYCLE Kids has to give our program to the City of Somerville,” says the Executive Director of CYCLE Kids, Julianne Idlet. “It was six years ago I came to the city and asked if I could try out an idea I had for a curriculum to help fight the alarming rise in the rate of Type II diabetes in children. The 21st Century program at the Lincoln Park school welcomed me, and, well, that was the beginning. We now reach over 1,000 children a year with our program in Metro Boston and New York City. I am grateful for the support we received in Somerville and am thrilled to have the opportunity to make this grant to the City of Somerville possible.”

The program will consist of six sessions taught during weekly physical education classes in the following schools:

  • Arthur D. Healey School
  • Dr. Albert F. Argenziano School at Lincoln Park
  • West Somerville Neighborhood School
  • John F. Kennedy Elementary School
  • Winter Hill Community School

Studies have shown that 25% of the children participating in a CYCLE Kids program will learn to ride a bicycle for the first time. These children will also become “Ambassadors of Change” as they bring their learning on the importance of adopting healthy, active lifestyles home to their families. Research shows that children who complete this program retain the knowledge that eating well and exercising regularly will help them to live happy, healthier lives.

About CYCLE Kids
CYCLE Kids, Inc. is a 501c3 organization dedicated to addressing the increasing rates of Type II diabetes, heart disease, and overweight and obese conditions in children caused by poor nutrition habits and lack of physical exercise. The program is a healthy lifestyle, bicycle-skills-based curriculum that teaches 4th – 5th grade students during physical education classes or afterschool programs in schools or community centers about the importance of adopting healthy lifestyles.  The organization provides schools with bikes and helmets, in-person teacher training, and a workbook-based class curriculum.  The school or community center staff is responsible for implementing the multi-session program. CYCLE Kids helps children discover the joys of physical activity and learn how to apply their abstract knowledge about nutrition to their daily lives. The program currently benefits at-risk populations in the greater Boston and New York City areas. All programs given to schools and community centers have a 100% retention rate.

About the Somerville Health and Physical Education Department
The Somerville Public Schools strives to provide a diverse and comprehensive health and physical education instructional program that encourages all students to make healthy decisions and live an active lifestyle to the best of their ability across their lifetimes. The Health and Physical Education Department, led by Mr. Tim O’Keefe, has a team of school-based Physical Education Instructors who provide rigorous, fun, and active class instruction. Health topics are taught by a complex network of classroom teachers, physical education instructors, guidance staff, school nurses, and community partners.

For information: org
Phone: 617-721-2543


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