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With so many students not knowing how to ride a bike, the 4J Safe Routes to School program launched a "Kinder Learn to Ride" program in partnership with PE teachers across the district. The program received a grant from the Strider Education Foundation that partially covered the purchase of a fleet of balance bikes with attachable pedals and curriculum to be used in teaching the basics of riding a bike during PE class. During the pilot at River Road/El Camino del Río Elementary, 80 out of 95 kindergarteners were pedaling by the end of the month, with the not-yet-pedalers close behind. 4J Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, Charis McGaughy, commented after seeing the gym full of students pedaling, "This is what equity looks like in practice: providing access to students to learn a critical life skill!"

 

The experience was meaningful for the adults who participated as well. Volunteer, Steve Hecker, wrote us, "You guys did a fabulous job and I feel fortunate to have played a small role in it. It was one of the most enjoyable and gratifying volunteer activities I’ve done in a long time. Looking forward to doing it again." He and others will have the opportunity soon, as the fleet and support from the Safe Routes to School program will be rotating throughout the district. Sign up to volunteer here.

Safe Routes to School coordinators are lucky to be able to connect with families that participate in many events over the years. This particular family first participated in an event to support homeless families with bike lights and safety skills in 2017. A year later, at a bike rodeo, the family had found permanent housing after living in a transitional tiny home.

 

Thanks to a partnership with Burley, SRTS was able to support the family with a new bike trailer. New helmets were provided to everyone thanks to a partnership with Safe Kids West. SRTS continues to get to know their community and families while creating special moments like these to support them.

Eva walked up to our booth at Eugene Sunday Streets and delightfully told us she wanted to learn how to ride a bike. After a few laps around our traffic garden on a balance bike, Eva felt ready to try riding on a bike with pedals and no training wheels. After another few laps and a bit of wobbling, Eva mastered riding a bike!

 

The bike she learned how to ride on had actually been donated by a Springfield family and because Eva was a student at Guy Lee Elementary, we decided to send it home with her. We are so thankful for a wonderful bike community, the many exceptional active transportation events in our region, and children like Eva who are excited to take on new challenges and master them. This is why we love our job!

 
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