Bikes for Tykes shares with Whitman school kids
BY ANDREA EGER World Staff Writer
Friday, November 30, 2012
11/30/12 at 7:28 AM
It took a ruse to keep nearly 45 Whitman Elementary School students from getting suspicious when they were called outside to the school's front entrance early Thursday morning.
Principal Elaine Buxton was not above such tricks.
She summoned a select few from classrooms throughout the building under the guise of discussing reading test scores.
"It's not April, but April Fools'!" Buxton shouted, as the children took in the sight of shiny new bicycles, each accessorized with a safety helmet and the name of its new owner.
Bikes for Tykes of Tulsa, a nonprofit organization operated entirely by volunteers and with donated funds, selected Whitman in its push to distribute about 800 new bicycles to local kids by the end of the year.
"My teacher didn't tell us nothing. I thought we were coming out here to play or something," said Jaylen Swain, a fifth-grader already donning his helmet and perched atop his brand new ride.
Some recipients were chosen through their participation in a coloring contest, but most were recommended according to need by their teachers.
Second-grader Morgan Reed celebrated her prize in true championship fashion, pumping her fists into the air above her head.
"I don't know how to ride a bike, but my grandma will teach me," said the 7-year-old, whose bike was already set for lessons by being outfitted with training wheels.
Bikes for Tykes' Thursday delivery at Whitman included the 44 bikes distributed immediately, plus six others that Principal Buxton can award as attendance incentive prizes in the coming months.
"This means the world to our school," she said. "We would not be able to supply the extra needs of our students without our partners."
The organization's mission isn't complete when it drops off new bikes. Volunteers follow up and provide training for any child who needs it. They also help organize bicycle and street safety assemblies at schools where students have received bikes.
Bikes for Tykes organizer Christina Treat said, "We know there are so many deserving students at Walt Whitman, and we wanted to provide a true reward for all of their hard work and efforts."
Original Print Headline: Getting a handle on giving
Andrea Eger 918-581-8470
Morgan Reed is thrilled with her new bicycle, which was part of a donation Thursday to students at Whitman Elementary School from Bikes for Tykes. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World
Bikes for Tykes organizer Christina Treat high-fives Devin Wilson on Thursday as Ryan Brown (left) looks on. The nonprofit group is on track to distribute 800 new bicycles to local children by the end of the year. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World
Students at Whitman Elementary School run out of class Thursday to find 44 newly donated bikes. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World
Students at Whitman Elementary School sit on their new bikes Thursday from Bikes for Tykes while their classmates are outfitted with safety helmets. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World