PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A physical elementary teacher in Cornelius recently learned his elementary school reached its fundraising goal and will soon receive enough bicycles to teach kids how to ride in school.
Echo Shaw Elementary School PE teacher Antonio Marquez loves to ride his bike and wants to share that passion with his students.
He knows learning how to ride a bike isn’t always possible for young children because of their circumstances or their family’s financial situation.
So, he turned to a fundraising campaign through All Kids Bike with the hope the community would help him reach his goal and get him the supplies he needs to get his kindergartners on two wheels.
The All Kids Bike nonprofit is led by the Strider Education Foundation and aims to place kindergarten PE learn-to-ride programs in public schools.
To receive a fleet of bicycles from the non-profit, Echo Shaw Elementary School had to raise $6,000 in one year.
KOIN 6 News covered the fundraiser on Oct. 17, shortly after it began.
On Dec. 14, Marquez wrote to KOIN to share the news that the school had reached its goal and would be receiving 24 pedal-conversion bikes, helmets, a teacher instruction bike, and certified training curriculum in January.
He said the school received tremendous support from the community.
“We are planning to do a big reveal to our students in February,” Marquez wrote in an email to KOIN. “I envision a big reveal for each class where the bikes are behind a curtain and I set up the class in front of the curtain and then EXCITEDLY show them what they will be using for the NEW UNIT!!!”
Marquez anticipates it will take some time to assemble the bicycles after they arrive in January.
Once he makes the big reveal, Marquez will begin teaching his kindergarten students how to properly wear a helmet and how to use a balance bike.
He hopes the students will learn to balance on their bikes with about four lessons. After that, he’ll fit the bikes with the pedal conversion kits and will spend four to six more lessons teaching the students how to ride a pedal bike.
At Echo Shaw Elementary School, the program would teach approximately 60 kindergarten students how to ride a bike on an annual basis.
The equipment is expected to last seven to 10 years, which means it could impact up to 600 kids at Echo Shaw Elementary School over the next decade.
Marquez hopes he’ll teach kids lifelong skills and would like to see more kids riding bikes to school in the future. He even has a goal of starting a bike bus in Cornelius one day. Marquez plans to look into acquiring more bikes to help teach his older students how to ride, as well.
Echo Shaw isn’t the only elementary school receiving strider bikes. Rose City Park Elementary School in Northeast Portland used funding from Oregon Metro Safe Routes to Schools to fundraise for the fleet.
Anyone wishing to donate to a similar cause can help Atkinson Elementary School in Southeast Portland. The school has started an All Kids Bike fundraiser and as of Tuesday, still needed to raise more than $5,000 to reach its goal.
Visit the link above to donate.