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MedExpress donates Balance Bikes to five local schools

Photos by Scott McCloskey Posing for a photo during the bike build event at Bellaire Elementary Thursday, are from left: MedExpress Community Development and Growth Coordinator Milena Novotny, kindergarten students, Cecelia Kelner, Gunnar Suriano and Alydia Perko, and MedExpress Spokesperson Ellen Dietrick.

BELLAIRE — It didn’t take long for kindergarten student Gunnar Suriano to give a thumbs-up after trying out one of the 110 Learn-To-Ride pedal bikes at a “bike build” event at Bellaire Elementary Thursday.

MedExpress, a neighborhood urgent care medical center, donated 110 Learn-To-Ride Balance Bikes, pedal conversion kits and helmets to five area elementary schools as part of a partnership with All Kids Bike and the Strider Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization that aims to place kindergarten physical education programs into public schools for free.

In addition to Bellaire Elementary, other schools, each receiving 22 bikes, include Madison Elementary,Center McMechen Elementary, Anna Marie Ayers Elementary in Martins Ferry, and McNinch Primary School in Moundsville.

Over the next five years, MedExpress plans to help nearly 2,000 kindergarteners learn to ride bikes through the donation of Learn-To-Ride Strider Balance Bikes, which are specifically designed to help children develop balance skills before introducing pedaling. Also included in the donation are training and certification for physical education teachers and staff, as well as an eight-lesson curriculum, which can be incorporated into the educator’s year-long physical education programming.

More than a dozen local students had the opportunity to try out the balance bikes in the school’s gymnasium during the bike presentation. The generous donation will help nearly 2,000 kindergarteners learn to ride as part of the Strider curriculum. Eventually, the bikes will be converted to pedal bikes.

As part of donation, MedExpress team members and school staff assembled the donated bikes and presented completed, ready-to-ride bikes to more than a dozen kindergarteners at the school. Physical education teachers, parents, and other community members participated in a the official ceremony.

“Today is really about the kids and celebrating the fact that they are going to be able to now learn to ride a bike as part of their physical education classes,” said Ellen Dietrick, MedExpress spokesperson.

Each school is receiving 22 bikes to implement into their physical education programs as well as helmets to go with each bike. She said the other four schools will have their bikes delivered this week.

Bellaire Elementary Principal Ben Doyle took a moment to greet everyone in attendance and thanked MedExpress officials for their donation to area students.

As a neighborhood medical center, MedExpress is committed to partnering with local organizations, like All Kids Bike and the Strider Education Foundation, which are dedicated to the health and well-being of families in the Wheeling community. MedExpress said that that learning to ride a bike can be an important step to helping young children adopt healthy habits, like regular exercise, from an early age to set them up for a healthy, happy life.

All Kids Bike is a national movement led by the Strider Education Foundation to place Kindergarten PE Learn-To-Ride Programs into public schools for free, using donations from individuals, businesses, and organizations. The Strider Education Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, that was formed in 2017, believes that learning to ride can help everyone lead a happier and healthier life.

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