About a dozen youth in Ceres have received free bikes that help them get to and from work and stay on track with their educational goals.
The bike giveaway was made possible by a joint venture involvingWalmart and the Ceres Partnership for Healthy Children and the Center for Human Services.
Dustin Pack, program manager of Project YES, a Ceres-based youth employment service, said the bikes will mean "reliable transportation to and from work.
"These bikes will also assist them in achieving their educational goals. Most of our youth have very unreliable or non-existent modes of transportation and the bus system is not cheap for youth with virtually no financial resources. Getting these bikes gives our youth a sense of pride and might also be the first major item they have had for themselves in their lives. We know confidence is not easily gained by the youth we serve so anytime we can enhance that, we jump on it."
The donation and repair of bicycles and the selection of the recipients has been a community effort. The donated bikes, mostly display bikes, were in need of minor repairs such as new seats, hardware or small paint jobs, and were stored at John's Mobile Auto Repair in Ceres. John Myles, owner of John's Mobile Auto Repair in Ceres is connected to the Ceres based Boy Scout Troop 9.
Scouts from Troop 9 volunteered time at the shop to repair the bikes so they would be ready to ride. Through Project YES, local schools and CPHC's Safe Routes to School Program, young people are being identified as recipients for the bikes.
"Walmart has been so good to us and to the families we serve," said Charlie Gross, a staff member at CPHC. "We rely on partnerships like this to help us meet the needs of those we serve. Getting bikes to kids isn't something we could do through our funding. This is such a great gift."
Established in 1994, CHS - Ceres Partnership for Healthy Children is a community collaborative and Family Resource Center dedicated to bringing the community together to support children and families. The programs and services are designed to improve the health and quality of life for children through strong families, safe neighborhoods and a caring, supportive community. CHS - Ceres Partnership for Healthy Children is a place where families can come for support in times of need. Services include: parent education, family advocacy and case management, support groups, child development screenings, family counseling, pregnancy education, school readiness classes and more. Bilingual staff allows the center to broaden the scope of people served and the majority of our services are offered at no cost to recipients.
For more information about CHS - Ceres Partnership for Healthy Children call 541-0101. For more information on the services Center for Human Services (CHS) provides, visit www.centerforhumanservices.org.