Brubaker “Kids on the Go” Thanks to Bike Giveaway
Who wants to go to school on a sunny Saturday morning the last weekend in April?
An excited, lucky bunch of students at Brubaker Elementary, many of whom were way early, that’s who. Thanks to Variety the Children’s Charity, Sammons Financial Group and the Des Moines Police Department, some 135 kids were there bright and early over the weekend to take delivery on, wait for it…brand new bikes! For a couple of hours it was Christmas in springtime at BruBIKEr, the latest site for Variety’s “Kids on the Go” program.
“This all began during the winter when Variety contacted us and asked for help identifying deserving kids,” said Principal Amy Wiegmann, who looked as joyous as the young faces lining up for their new rides. “Teachers and staff put together a list and those kids then had to submit an application explaining why they needed and deserved a bike.”
About a month ago, Tiffany Egli, Variety’s Director of Activities, sent out congratulatory letters that included the details about where and when to pick up the new wheels.
“That’s all she’s talked about ever since,” according to Candy Dacus whose 2nd grade daughter, Kaleigh, was there to bond with her spanking new 24” Roadmaster with the shiny black tires and the sparkling metallic blue paint job. Now that the big day had finally arrived, Kaleigh was almost speechless as she hopped aboard and took a get-acquainted spin around the parking lot.
The apps the kids filled out included measurements that ensured everybody got a bike that was just right-sized as well as vital accessories like a helmet and a lock. Before climbing on, each of the riders had to sign a pledge to ride safely, wear their helmet and lock up. DMPD officers were there stressing the importance of safety and security and handing out lots of high-fives.
Bikes were awarded to kids in all grades, K-5. Some of the more experienced pedalers wanted to ride straight home, a la stuffing old shoes in the box and skipping home from the shoe store in the brand new pair. Others had no choice but to load their prize into the trunk of the car or the bed of the pickup and haul it home for some intensive training sessions. Talk about homework!
With May right around the corner, don’t be surprised if the bike racks at Brubaker start filling up as the suddenly more mobile students there cruise down the homestretch of the school year.
Saturday’s event was hardly the first time around this sort of a block for Variety. They’re in the business of doing whatever it takes, “so kids can be kids,” like the slogan on their banner read. But it never gets old. Principal Wiegmann; the Brubaker staffers; the parents; DMPD officers Joe Gonzalez, Vince Valdez, Yanira Scarlett, and Jon Maxwell; Egli; and the volunteers from Sammons all would have been indistinguishable from the new bikers if not for the telltale difference in size. There’s just something about kids and new bikes that makes even old folks feel brand new, too.