MOUNT VERNON — Sometimes what a student learns after school is just as important as what he learns in the classroom. For students at the Knox Learning Center, thanks to the afterschool bicycle repair program, there are tangible rewards as well — nine students and other children from the community recently got “new” wheels, just in time for spring break.
The instructor involved, Lynn Marcum, said, “It’s just great that we can offer these refurbished bikes. We work on them here through the 21st Century Grant. The program gives students a productive way to keep busy after school, gives them experience with using tools safely and finishing something once you start it. The main thing, though, is giving back to the community. That’s what [Andrew Wilson] really strives to do. He was really looking forward to this giveaway day.”
Wilson actually worked on all nine bikes in this year’s giveaway, with occasional assistance from other Learning Center students. Some needed new tires, paint touch-ups or minor tuning. Some required more effort to make them ride-worthy. The one Wilson received in the giveaway was literally constructed from two different bikes. Wilson said he completed the conversion in four sessions, each lasting about two hours. The hardest part of the process, he added, was the brakes.
Learning Center director Quinn Haas said he is proud of all the students and staff involved with the bike program, especially Lauren Downes, the 21st Century Grant coordinator.
“She plans all these afterschool activities and works hard 24/7 so the kids have great opportunities,” said Haas. “She’s a hard worker and is a good example.”
For information on how to donate used bikes to the Learning Center fix-it program, call Downes at the Learning Center at 393-6769.