Bikes 4 Kids wins FamilyFun prize

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By: Maria Lamagna <mlagmana@hilite.org>

Junior Weston Luzadder said he never expected the recognition that would come from his work from Bikes 4 Kids. But from the first child he helped, he knew he wanted to continue. “The first kid was so excited about the bike. When we pulled into the driveway, he came running up to us. It was just really cool.”

Luzadder and his family have run their Bikes 4 Kids organization since March 2006. The group consists of Luzadder, his parents and two mechanics not in his family. They take bicycles (usually which have been donated to them), fix and improve them, and then give them to underprivileged children who do not have bicycles of their own. They also give each child a helmet.

Art teacher Kevin Daly, who is an avid cyclist himself, has helped with Bikes 4 Kids as well. After a fellow teacher put Daly in touch with Luzadder, Daly has delivered about 20 bicycles to children in need. Daly said he has enjoyed working with the organization and meeting Luzadder. “I think (Bikes 4 Kids) is amazing. Meeting (Luzadder) as a sophomore, a kid that’s so selfless that wanted to give back to the community when he’s so young…it definitely gives you faith in society when you see a kid go out of the way to do something to help other people. Good things will happen to that young man,” he said.

Some good things already have. FamilyFun magazine, The Walt Disney Company and the Points of Light Foundation recently named the Luzadders grand prize winners of their third annual FamilyFun Volunteers program. According to the magazine, the organizations gave grants which altogether totaled $50,000 to families who do acts of volunteerism. Each grand prize winner, including the Luzadders’ Bikes 4 Kids organization, won a grant worth $5,000.

Luzadder said that his mom found out about the program through reading FamilyFun magazine. She then sent in an application for a grant from the program. FamilyFun then called the Luzadders for a phone interview. After this process, their family was selected as one of five grand prize winners nationwide.

As part of their prize, the Luzadders were featured in the October issue of FamilyFun in addition to winning the $5,000 grant. According to Luzadder, the money will go towards more Bikes 4 Kids work. Luzadder also said each job, including the bicycle and the helmet, costs around $36. “When we continue our program, (the grant will) help cover it,” he said.

Luzadder said that he will continue his work with his family’s program because he finds it so worthwhile. “I think a bike,” he said, “is something people might take for granted.”

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