The Summer of 2016 got off to an unforgettable start for 32 lucky elementary students when they were surprised with a shiny new bike and helmet during an event on Saturday, June 4, 2016 at the Basketball Hall of Fame.
The unsuspecting kids thought they were special guests for a morning of fun and excitement. The fun and games were merely a prelude to the real reason they were being assembled. The students selected to receive the bikes had been chosen by their school guidance counselors based on their character and commitment to education.
The Bikes for Kids initiative is a partnership between The City of Springfield, Foundation for Life, Basketball Hall of Fame and the Barnum Financial Group.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno stated, “This is really great initiative that brings together public and private organizations to brighten the day of some of our outstanding kids."
Sarno credited Chief of Staff Denise Jordan for bringing the initiative forward. Jordan, who worked closely with Springfield Public School administrators to organize the effort, said the faith-based community really supported the initiative by sponsoring 20 of the 32 lucky third graders. Director of Constituent Services Bill Baker also played an instrumental role in the event planning process and assuring that the children and their families had a morning of fun before the big surprise.
Superintendent of Schools Daniel J. Warwick said he was “excited for the kids who are in for the surprise.” He continued, “This is a perfect example of the community coming together to help our students. There is a big connection between school success and the experiences that students have outside of the classroom. We know that having a brand new bike for the start of summer is a big thrill that will go a long way.”
Warwick thanked the Mayor’s Office and all of the supporters behind the initiative. “This would not have happened if not for them,” he said.
“When I worked on the first campaign in 2014, we sponsored 160 4th graders, it was a lot of work, but the end result is one that I will never forget. This year we decided to make the program more intimate by selecting one deserving 3rd grader from each elementary school. The Guidance Counselors provided the names of 5 deserving students and we randomly drew their names from envelopes. I can’t wait to see the looks on the children’s faces when they see the bikes at the end of the workshop. It will feel like Christmas in June!” said Chief of Staff Denise Jordan.
Katharine Chaney-Jones, Foundation for Life Board Member states, “The mission of the Foundation for life is to improve the quality of life for the people and families we serve through actions that promote change and deepen connections within our community. Through the Bikes for Kids program, we give children the freedom to explore their communities while helping them to stay active and promoting a healthy lifestyle.”
WWLP-22 News: http://wwlp.com/2016/06/04/3rd-graders-receive-new-bikes/
Western Mass News: http://www.westernmassnews.com/story/32146088/springfield-students-surprised-with-brand-new-bikes-at-basketball-hall-of-fame