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Pedaling worthy causes

Sheriff's officers take safey, charity lessons to kids

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POSTED: October 30, 2007 5:00 a.m.
The 4 and 5 year olds in Jennifer Solomon’s pre-school class at The River of Life Ministries, Alpha Youth University and Day Care Center in Allenhurst recently learned two valuable lessons — bicycle safety and being charitable toward others.
That’s because the youngsters recently took part in their first trike-a-thon benefiting the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
The event was a free, one-week curriculum that teaches children riding safety with a series of interactive stories and lessons featuring a character called Bikewell Bear.
Solomon received a professionally illustrated storybook designed to help her students learn a different safety lesson each day. The children received a corresponding coloring page for each day that featured safety reinforcement tips for parents printed on the back.
After learning their lessons for a week, the children took their bikes and tricycles to school and practiced all of the rules they’ve learned.
“They are at that age where being actively engaged in an activity helps them learn and develop,” Solomon said. “We decided this would teach them safety skills and also help support a good cause. The children got to see a video about St. Jude’s to see firsthand who it was they were riding for.”
The children learned the importance of always wearing a helmet when riding, never riding in the streets and using caution when approaching driveways.
The children first received a safety talk from Liberty County Sheriff Deputy Lt. Danny Pittman before venturing outside for their ride. Pittman, along with Deputy Cpl. Wade Long, then blocked off Church Street with their patrol cars and the children donned on their safety helmets and protection gear before hitting the pedals.
The rest of the children from the center lined the edge of the road and cheered as the tricycles and bicycles paraded up and down the roadway; always watching out for their fellow riders and following the safety lessons they learned.
“I love participating with the children, especially at this age. It’s so much fun,” Pittman said.
The center will now collect the money from parents who sponsored a rider in the event and submit it to St. Jude’s.
“The Alpha Youth University and Day Care Center has been in Allenhurst approximately 20 years or so,” Faye Wright said.
Wright has been employed with the center for more than a decade. In addition to the pre-K class, the center provides night care and Saturday care.

About St. Jude’s
St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital is known throughout the world as the leading facility in the research, treatment and cure of catastrophic illnesses that can affect illness.
Founded in the 1950’s by the late actor and entertainer, Danny Thomas, the hospital in Memphis, Tenn. treats all children, regardless of the family’s ability to pay and is funded by donations from events such as the trike-a-thon and other events.
The center will now focus on their next event, this time to help raise money and awareness of their programs through a week-long book fair set to begin next week.
The fair will be from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and offer the center an opportunity to work with books from Scholastics, the largest publisher and distributor of children’s learning books.
The center is at 114 Church St. in Allenhurst.
For more information, call 369-0555.
 

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