Written by Nanette LoBiondo Galloway
MARGATE – More than 130 tikes took care of their trikes last week, just like Mom and Dad take care of their cars.
Students enrolled in the Milton and Betty Katz JCC Early Childhood Program learned about bicycle safety and raised money for a good cause – to make sure other children with catastrophic diseases, such as pediatric cancer, get medical treatment when they need it, regardless of their ability to pay.
It was the sixth year the JCC participated in the Trike-a-Thon, benefiting St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, according to Jan Higbee, the center’s assistant director.
“Every year we raise around $2,000, taking in a little more each year,” Higbee said. “The parents and grandparents are very good about making donations.”
At the beginning of the week, children are asked to bring in their tricycles and scooters, and weather permitting, they would ride them for a half-hour every day in the school yard. During the days it rained, the children rode in the auditorium.
On Friday, a perfect day weather-wise, each age-group class – toddlers to kindergarten – took their turn in the schoolyard. But not before they got one quick tip on bicycle safety, Higbee said.
“Every day, we work on one bicycle safety rule, and by the end of the week, they have a working knowledge about bike safety,” Higbee said.
Children eagerly washed their trikes with buckets of water before driving through the automatic car wash area – a big cardboard box with streamers at the end – only to emerge at the auto repair shop where they could use plastic hammers, saws and pliers to fix what was broken.
When the repairs were completed, they filled up with gas at the pump in the gas station, which was a clothesline with a nozzle at the end.
Students learned the rules of the road, driving around the schoolyard in the proper direction for a while before stopping off at the drive-through restaurant for a quick snack before heading back to class.