City students earn while they learn with collaborative Earn-a-Bike Program

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MANCHESTER, NH – Thanks to the Earn-A-Bike Program, over 140 elementary school students in Manchester will be provided with a new refurbished bicycle or their choice of an alternative “be active” package in the last weeks of May!

The program, created by the Manchester Community Schools Project in collaboration with QC Bike Collective, Gossler Park Elementary School, and Beech Street Elementary School, has been rewarding academic achievement and leadership skills of elementary school children with bikes since 2015.

“The Earn-A-Bike program has been a cornerstone of the Manchester Community Schools Project,” according to Amy Bligh, Community Programs Coordinator at the Manchester Health Department. “It’s a great way to celebrate student leadership together with community partners, families and neighbors, while also highlighting health and safety!”

Fourth graders at Gossler Park Elementary will receive their bikes on May 18 during the Gossler Park Block Party from 4:30 – 6 p.m. and Mayor Joyce Craig is expected to make an appearance. Fifth graders at Beech Street Elementary will receive their bikes at their school on May 25.

The bike packages include a helmet, lights, lock, and will meet transportation needs while also offering an outlet for exercise and recreation. Students who already had bikes at home were offered an alternative prize. The alternative “be active” packages included a ball package of ball, pump, and accessories, or a set of tennis lessons with a racket through Tennis in the Parks with Manchester Parks and Recreation.

Each school had a bike safety assembly provided by certified instructors through Bike Walk Alliance of NH. “We are happy to support the Earn-a-Bike program by sending our BWANH-certified bike safety instructors to participating schools! This helps us achieve the goals of our Safe Routes to School program. Win win!” said Paula Bedard, Bike-Walk Alliance of New Hampshire, Safe Routes to School Program Coordinator.

The Manchester Police Department offered support by providing bike registration free of charge. “We are happy to be a part of this great event, “ says Manchester Public Information Officer Heather Hamel, “It’s always wonderful to see the kid’s eyes light up when they get their new set of wheels and our officers look forward to helping them with their bike locks and helmets. We hope this gift makes for a summer full of safe and fun riding.”

The Earn-A-Bike Program was only able to make this impact through the generous funding by Elliot Hospital.

“Elliot Health System, a founding member of SolutionHealth, is proud to support community health and wellness initiatives that impact local children,” says Anne-Marie Hafeman, Director, Community Engagement & Volunteer Resources for Elliot Health System. “In this case, we are thrilled knowing that students at two elementary schools completed the leadership programs set by the Manchester Health Department to earn bikes.”

Robert Tourigny, Executive Director for NeighborWorks Southern NH says, “We are delighted to see the great success of QC Bike and all they have accomplished since their early days working in our small community room, and their growth that now includes a store and an inventory of bikes that will meet the needs of our entire community.”

The Earn-A-Bike Program continues to grow since its inception and is looking to expand its reach, offering “be active” rewards to more students in the city. More support is needed as the program expands. Businesses, organizations, and individuals looking to contribute funding or resources for the program can contact Abby Easterly at abby@qcbike.org.

The Queen City Bicycle Collective continues its mission to get, and keep, the Manchester community riding bicycles safely and affordably with services, events, and community outreach. You can help in that mission by donating funds, bikes or parts, or volunteering your time. You can learn more by visiting QCBike.org or contacting Abby Easterly at abby@qcbike.org or calling (603) 493-1720.

QC Bike Collective gratefully acknowledges the generous contributions from the many bike donors, including Trek Hooksett, all the volunteers who dedicated their time to refurbishing bikes all winter, and the many people who work to make the Earn-a-Bike events a smooth and joyful experience.


 

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