Thursday, July 2, 2009

Bikes For Foster Kids

Jacob has a bike parade at school. I was amazed to find out that 2 of the kids in his class don't own bicycles. One of the little boys stated he had to leave it at D's house. I don't know how D is or what this little boy's history is. It made me think of all of the children placed in foster care though. While many foster parents own bicycles for the children to use, I have known very few that actually had bikes they could take with them when they moved on. Even in my home, the foster children do not have bikes. I have several bikes but they belong to the "family." The foster children are not allowed to take them with them and they definitelly don't own them. They can use them while they are here but then they must leave them for the next foster children who come along.

I am not sure why I never thought about the impact of having to leave a bike behind. I saw it on the face of this little boy yesterday though. It was obvious he really missed having his own bike. Jacob took an extra bike from our house for these two kids to share at school. Again, it isn't their bike though and they will have to return it for "the next kid."

Maybe in the future, I can organize a bike drive for foster children. It would be nice to have a number of bikes donated each Spring to be given to foster children who do not currently have a bike or who have outgrown their bikes. It would make the children feel more like their friends and one less way to emphasize that they are foster children. As one four year old child in my home put it, "I don't want to be a foster kid. I want to be just a kid." Having a bike would be one way for her to feel like "just a kid."

If anyone has any ideas how a project like this could be accomplished or wants to help, let me know. I doubt I will have time to work on it this year but maybe after I finish graduate school I can start it. Just a simple way to help the kids just be kids.


M and M said...

Hi Heather. You know, I always like a project. I can help. I don't have any ideas on how to start the program, but I have a lot of connections and there is always the local radio :-) Let me know when you're ready to do a bike drive - I'm in.

Stacy said...

went to a fundraiser for an agency called Fullcycle ... it's in Mpls. An ex-coworker of mine started it. The agency takes in about 12 homeless youth a quarter and trains them on how to repair and rebuild bicycles, part of what they do is each intern gives bikes that he/she fixed to youth in need, then they also get a bike to keep at the end of their internship. you can google fullcycle for specifics and contact information. Matt is the name of the friend I used to work with.