You know that look that kids get on Christmas morning? The one where their eyes get wide, their jaw hits the floor and they look at their family members with pure joy and excitement? Yeah, that one. That’s the look I get everyday when I go into schools with our Kids Riding Bikes program.
When students walk into the gym to see a line of eight bikes, they get excited. The older ones because it is something familiar to them, and the younger ones because it is something new, something challenging, and something they normally can’t do on their own. For some of our students, they’ve never had the chance to be on a bike, and we are their first experience.
Near the end of each of our programs, we ask the students if they get out and ride their bikes often. This is when I see the wheels in their heads start turning. They realize that their bike has been sitting in the garage far too long, that they had forgotten the joy and the feeling of being on a bike. At the end of their time with us, regardless of their skill-level, they walk away thinking about the bicycle.
My hope is that they go home and ask their parents to go for a bike ride. I hope they get with their friends and plan trips to the park. I hope that they see that the bike is a great way to get from point A to point B. Whether they do these things or not, I am certain that after our program they walk away remembering the feeling they get when riding a bike.
Just last week I had a second grader approach me and say “you are the best thing ever”. When young children tell me things I really take them to heart because if I’ve learned anything about young kids it’s that they have no filter, and they tell you how it is. Now, I know she didn’t mean that I personally was the best thing ever, but the program that I was able to help provide to her was. Occurrences like this make me stop and realize just how important and meaningful our program really is.