Bikes for America donates bikes to Westbury youngsters
Few things are more representative of childhood than a shiny new bicycle. Learning to ride is a rite of passage and few things compare to the feeling of wind in your hair as you explore the neighborhood on a set of two-wheels.
For many area youngsters, financial constraints make having a bicycle, let alone a new one, an impossible dream. But that dream came true for 10 students at Park Avenue School, who were recently surprised with a brand-new bike thanks to the organization Bikes for Kids in America.
Started by Enrico DeLuca, Bikes for Kids in America is a New York-based nonprofit that seeks to deliver bicycles to children in need. For DeLuca, the inspiration to start the organization came from a very personal place.
“I grew up in a single parent home, we didn’t have much money. A young couple down the road saw we had no money and bought me a bike,” DeLuca said. “[This is] my way of giving back and reaching out to kids who are less fortunate. If you give a bike, it gives them a sense of feeling good about themselves and freedom.”
Over the three and a half years Bikes for Kids in America has been in existence, the organization has given 1,600 bikes to children in seven states. For their recent visit to Westbury, they partnered with Samsung, where DeLuca is currently an enterprise executive.
Twice a year, Samsung does charitable endeavors and this year, the company chose to help Bikes for Kids in America. Accompanied by some of his fellow Samsung coworkers, DeLuca taught students in Westbury about what Samsung does, as well as about his charity and bike safety.
The students were under the assumption they were there for an assembly, but were delighted when the auditorium stage’s curtain was pulled back to reveal 10 shiny new bikes, complete with helmets and locks, all for them.
The chosen students—two each from grades one through five—were identified through their involvement in the Island Harvest nutrition assistance program.
“Many of them don’t have the same toys that the other children have,” said Park Avenue principal Gloria Dingwall. “For them to get something brand new is an incredible experience. I think they’ll remember it forever.”
Dingwall noted that she hopes the partnership with Bikes for Kids in America can be a long-term one that will not only provide students with bicycles, but a valuable life lesson.
“They’ll remember someone donated it and that it’s a service project,” Dingwall said. “When they grow up, they’ll be more socially conscious and know they can give back as well.”