Nonprofit Uses Bikes To Encourage Literacy In Low Income Schools
by: Pat Hernandez, December 12, 2012 9:12:00 pm
The volunteers inside Reliant Center are putting together some 10,000 bicycles that will go to kids who master their reading skills. Rebecca Roberts is executive director of Elves and More, a Houston nonprofit who's mission is to give children from low-income communities an incentive to learn how to read. They got reading contracts from children in 26-schools:
"We go as far north as Conroe this year, over to Waller ISD. We go all the way out to Fort Bend. We go to Texas City in Galveston. We go out to Crosby, Aldine and Spring. And we do HISD."
She says the bikes represent basic transportation for the kids.
"Kids who live in poverty, they don't have gas or cars. Their parents, if they have a car, they're probably out working. They want to go to their friends' house, how do they get there? A bike gives them freedom."
Attorney Louis Vetrano has been volunteering putting the bikes together for some time now. He says his satisfaction comes from seeing the children's faces.
"The instant they touch that bike, they get this big smile on their face, and that bicycle is freedom, that bicycle is excitement, that bicycle is adventure."
Volunteer Karen Hudak says she loves being a part of making such a significant impact in a child's life.
"Knowing it's going to go a child that is actually learning how to read and it means so much to that child, that's why we come out here. And, what better Christmas present, right?"
The nonprofit has already donated over 126,000 bicycles to school children in the area.