70 Fresno kids walked away with a free bike

June 3, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Kids are gearing up for the start of summer and at one Fresno Unified school, students will be riding in style. More than 70 bikes were awarded to high-achieving students Monday afternoon.

The excitement was palpable throughout the auditorium at Addams Elementary School in west central Fresno. Both students and parents cheered as more than 70 bicycles were unveiled.

"I just feel like surprised, excited," said 4th grader Vanessa Phengdy. She was one of 79 students who received a pair of wheels. "I deserved it because I did good character and got good grades."

The non-profit group, Off The Front works kids in low-income neighborhoods to improve their grades while building character and service. At the end of the program, successful students are awarded with a bike worth $100. "This isn't a gift. This is something that they've worked all year. So when they have their bike, they put their name on it, they know [it's theirs]," said Mike Slayden with Off The Front.

Organizers said the bikes also help students combat childhood obesity by staying active. "I already had a bike and it kind of broke so I needed a new one," said 4th grader Emmanuel Perez.

Along with a bike, students were also given a helmet and lock to protect their prize. "This bike is going to be a special bike because they earned it and they worked towards all year long," said parent Shantea Wallace.

And kids say their new ride will serve as motivation to keep their grades up and live an active life.

Off The Front has given more than 900 bikes to students in the past 4 years.


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