By Michilea Patterson, The Mercury
A local community wellness initiative is giving away free bicycles to Pottstown School District fourth-graders on Saturday morning at the middle school
Any Pottstown student currently enrolled in the fourth grade is eligible to attend the bike rodeo on Saturday and register to receive a free bike. There are only 150 bicycles available so the first 150 students to register for the bikes will receive them.
There are a few conditions before a student can ride away on two wheels. A student must bring a parent or guardian to register for the bikes on Saturday morning. The student must also bring their bike helmet to event to be eligible for the free bike. On Saturday, every student that registers will write a short essay on what it means to be “Pottstown Proud.” Before students take home their free bike, they will attend a Pottstown police bike safety demonstration and participate in a ride through the neighborhood.
Registration for the bike rodeo will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at Pottstown Middle School. The address is 600 N. Franklin St.
Bishop Michael Anthony of Heart of God Worship Center said safety is a big part of Saturday’s rodeo because they want the children to learn the right way to ride on bicycles. He said having students bring their own helmets helps make them accountable for their safety.
Anthony along with several other representatives of community organizations make up the wellness initiative Strong at Heart which is doing the free bike giveaway for the second year. Last year, 100 bikes were given to children and this year that number was raised by 50.
Anthony is also a teacher’s assistant at Lincoln Elementary School. He said Saturday’s bike rodeo is focused on current 4th grade students because 4th graders don’t know 5th grade teachers and those teaches don’t know 4th grade parents.
“Going to 5th grade is going to be such a different dynamic when they get to the middle school because normally 5th graders are at elementary school level but that’s been changed,” Anthony said. “It’s a good idea to have parents, teachers, students, police officers and community leaders in one place in a non-threatening environment.”
Saturday’s event will also be about bring the community together. There will be free food, music and additional giveaways available at the event. Christie Werkheiser, director of advancement for West-Mont Christian Academy is also part of the community initiative that’s hosting the bike rodeo Saturday.
“It’s important as an organization that we give back to our community. From the standpoint of Strong at Heart, we want to be part of the solution to help students in our area learn healthy habits from an early age,” she said.
To learn more about the Strong at Heart initiative, visit the website at SAHPottstown.com.