MOUNT VERNON — Thanks to the efforts of students at the Alternative Center, Christmas came a little early this year for a number of local children. Ten bicycles were given away Dec. 16 at a special holiday luncheon held in the Knox County Career Center River Room Cafe. The bicycle recipients, from toddlers to teenagers, were excited when they saw their “new” bikes. One was particularly grateful — her old bike was recently stolen and she welcomed a replacement.
The bicycles were refurbished by Donald Johnson, Cameron Keenan and Matt Adams in the Alternative Center’s bicycle repair shop, part of the center’s after-school activities program. Their supervisor, Bert McDonald, said the young men learned many things as they worked on the donated bicycles, including the proper use and care of tools, and which tools to use for each step of the repair process. Since some of the bikes were very weathered before arriving at the shop, McDonald said, the students “learn what sandpaper is. They learn what sandpaper is. They learn what sandpaper is. They learn what sandpaper is.”
One of the honored guests at the luncheon was Steve Darling, who was instrumental in the inauguration of the bicycle repair program. Glenn Marchal, director of the Alternative Center, gave special recognition to Darling and his dedication to community service. He said Darling was a valuable role model and mentor for the students.
The luncheon for the bicycle recipients and their parents was prepared and served by KCCC Chef & Catering students.
Anyone wishing to donate bicycles for the repair program may take them to the Alternative Center on West Vine Street, or call the center at 393-6769 for more information.