By: Gwyneth Hendrickson, Class of 2023
For the past nine years, Union High School has been finding, fixing, and providing bikes for children in our district through our Bikes for Kids program. Through Career Connect, high schoolers in automotive and manufacturing internships get sent to local worksites where they learn in a hands-on way how to repair machines and work on mechanics. Since October, Career Connect students have been working on finding bikes they could repair and learning all the skills needed to do so. “Through trial and error there were ups and downs, but we made the best of what we could do for the children,” said Tristan George, a senior in the automotive program.
The bikes have been through a long process of work these past three months. In order to even do this project, sixty bikes needed to be found from the local area. These bikes were donated by the community to the Union students to be cleaned, fixed, bowed, and tagged. Some bikes that were found couldn’t be saved and they had to be used for parts for the bikes that were in better condition. From October to the very end of November these bikes were worked on by many students from the automotive and manufacturing programs. Over 60 bikes were donated this year and these amazing, hard working students refurbished over 50 of them.
The next step in the program came behind the scenes from Mrs. Wood, the Career Connect advisor. Mrs. Wood in the CCC. Even though she is new to this position this year, she knew she was going to continue the Bikes for Kids legacy. “It was a pleasure to continue a tradition that began before my time at Union,” she said. She contacted all the district schools including all 14 elementary schools and the Union 6th and 7th Grade Center. The counselors at the schools recommended children who they thought would really benefit from a bike or students who may not be getting a lot of things under the tree this year. In total, Career Connect was able to provide 50 bikes for children who deserved them. Bikes were delivered to the school sites on December 14th, just in time for the holidays.
Bikes for Kids is such an inspiring way to give back from student to student within our own district and school family. This tradition will live on in the following years here at Union High School, allowing high school students to give back to other children for the holidays. These bikes mean so much to not only the children getting them every year, but also to the students who are learning life skills in the process of it all.