Seattle Bike Build for Low-Income Kids

  • Saria, age 6, was one of the winners of a new bicycle from the Neighborcare Health Rainier Beach Medical & Dental Clinic. She is pictured with Dr. Sarah Vanderbeek, her dentist.

  • Employees of Neighborcare after completing a bike build.

  • Loading finished bikes into the truck to be sent to the local Neigborhcare Centers.

Seattle Bike Build for Low-Income Kids

It took less than four hours on September 28, 2011 for Seattle International District Rotarians to help build more than 70 bicycles for low-income children in Seattle’s public housing communities.

Working with the staff from Neighborcare Health, a Seattle community health center that provides medical and dental care for low-income families, the Rotarians helped staff members answer trivia questions to earn bike parts and then construct new girl’s and boy’s Huffy bikes.

The 70 bicycles were distributed through Neighborcare Health’s medical and dental clinics and Neighborhood House, an agency that provides services to residents of Seattle’s public housing communities. Children were entered into a drawing to receive the bikes if they completed their medical and dental check-ups or participated in after-school programs. For the children who live in these communities, a bicycle is a luxury item. These families live below the poverty line to be eligible for public housing.

Neighborcare Health doctors and dentists care for these families every day and see the impact of lack of exercise or poor eating habits. They wanted to help these families directly encourage healthy habits at a young age and bicycles seemed like a great idea. The staff approached the Rotary Clubs of Seattle International District and the University District, who provided grants to underwrite the costs of the bike parts. Seattle International District Rotarians also helped to staff the half-day event to lend an extra hand to their efforts.

In addition to local Rotary clubs, the cost of the bike parts and supplies was also sponsored by generous donations from community supporters, including Jamal Crawford, NBA player with the Atlanta Hawks. Jamal grew up in Seattle and established the Jamal Crawford Foundation to provide inner-city children with experiences to strengthen their minds and bodies. Clark Nuber Certified Public Accountants and Consultants and Washington Dental Service helped underwrite the costs as well. In addition, in-kind donations were provided from TeamBonding and Gregg’s Cycles.

At the end of the morning, 70 bicycles were loaded onto a moving van and distributed to public housing locations around Seattle.  That same afternoon, a couple of children were seen riding new bicycles around the Yesler Terrace housing community. Despite the gloomy weather, the smiles on the faces of the kids lit up the whole neighborhood. The kid’s smiles were easily matched by the faces of the Rotarians and Neighborcare Health staff who helped make it all happen.

Projects like this happen regularly throughout District 5030. Whether they are building bicycles, tutoring kids, or starting a pre-kindergarten literacy program, Rotarians work in their own communities as well as internationally to help build hope for their neighbors. To get involved in a hands-on project like the bike build, visit the links on the right-hand side of the page

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