Above: Founders Clint and Kelly Cascaden. Right, from top: The gym at
St. James Parish was filled with bikes at the giveaway event in December.
Paul and Janet Wells were part of the team offering free adult and child’s
bike repair at a Boots On the Ground outreach event at Solomon Towers
on Castle Street Feb. 3. A Bike for Every Child intern Tayler Berry (white hat)
and Kelly Cascaden tune up a bike at Solomon Towers. A 5-year-old learns
to ride his brand new bike at Wrightsville Beach Park in November.
The organization held its largest event to date on Dec. 16, 2017. On that
chilly Saturday, Hernandez was one of more than 800 children from the
Nourish N.C. program who, along with their families, flooded St. James
Episcopal Church in downtown Wilmington. The crowd spilled out of the
parish’s doors onto the sidewalk, as anxious children waited to lay claim to
a bike and helmet to call their own.
“It’s called an ‘Earn a Bike’ event,” says Kelly Cascaden, founder and
executive director of A Bike for Every Child. “We do that because we want
to create a sense of ownership and pride so that they will take care of the
bike and use the bike instead of just saying, ‘Here’s your new bike, have
fun!’ They come, they get measured, and then they pick out whatever bike
they want according to their size. They get fitted for their helmet and then
we teach them basic bike maintenance skills, like how to change a tire.
Then they go through a safety course, and that’s how they earn their bike.
They have to go through all of those steps.”
Cascaden founded A Bike for Every Child in 2016 after she and her hus-band,
Clint, saw a need for more children to reap the benefits that bicycles
provide. The costs of bike ownership often prove difficult for families
whose children most need the physical activity, social engagement and
sense of pride afforded by having their own bike.
“My husband and I were always passionate about giving bikes to kids
for Christmas from the Angel Tree — but one or two,” Cascaden says. “I
was in a leadership program where they asked us to create a program that
would impact our community. I knew I wanted to find a way to raise funds
and give kids bikes, and it just evolved from there.”
JOHN URBAN / BLUE SKY PHOTOGRAPHY
WBM march 2018