December 10, 2018 was a very special day for 46 students at Miles Elementary school in Tampa. That Monday morning, the students at Miles Elementary with the best attendance in kindergarten through grade five, in each respective class, were awarded certificates for free bicycles from WellBuilt Bikes. The University Area CDC provided free bicycle helmets for each student who received a bike and RD Management contributed funds to help WellBuilt Bikes refurbish the bicycles. In addition to the bike giveaway, the entire student body at Miles Elementary also participated in a schoolwide workshop about bicycle safety, presented by both WellBuilt Bikes and the University Area CDC.
Lucy Gonzalez, Safe Routes to School Coordinator and administrative staff with the University of South Florida Center for Urban Transportation Research, volunteered at the event. One of the highlights for Lucy was helping orchestrate the egg drop activity for the kids.
“It was really exciting to have the opportunity to utilize the kids’ bikes we had to provide them to kids who earned them,” said Jon Dengler, CEO of WellBuilt Bikes. “The kids who received the bikes were selected based on good attendance and achievement. It fit in line with WellBuilt’s values of earning and working for the bikes. It was a venture that was well received and supported by both the school and community.”
Jon shared a little background about how the event came to be. Erica Santuccio is a Student Nutrition Manager for Miles Elementary who also volunteers with WellBuilt Bikes; she was the catalyst that helped bring these two worlds together. To acknowledge Erika and the crucial role she played in bringing the event to fruition, some of the kids who were given helmets wore them at breakfast the next morning in her honor. “It was amazing to see that and see all the families come to WellBuilt and pick out the bikes their children earned,” said Jon.
WellBuilt Bikes is a nonprofit bicycle shop located at the University Mall; its mission is to make affordable, reliable transportation available to all by selling refurbished bikes at economical prices and offering an “Earn-A-Bike” program to enable those with little or no money to obtain a bike of their own. The University Area CDC is a nonprofit partnership that focuses on the redevelopment and sustainability of the at-risk areas surrounding University of South Florida’s Tampa campus, including the needs of local youth. RD Management, which helped fund the event, is the nationwide company that manages the University Mall complex.