For the second year in a row, Outspokin’ Wheelmen has donated two dozen tricycles to women’s shelters in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana Counties.
The group has bicycled around the Valley for 40 years and in addition to riding, the group hosts two major rides every year in the spring and fall.
“Serious bike riders come from all over northeast Ohio, northwest Pennsylvania to take part in these two events and that’s our fundraising venues,” said John Nagy, vice president and program chair.
Last May, the Wheelmen used those funds to buy bikes for adults and children at a handful of area women’s shelters. This year, they’re donating 24 tricycles to Beatitude House, Potter’s Wheel, Christina House and Someplace Safe.
“Right now, our population includes eight children and five of those children will be very excited to see those tricycles because they’re just the right size for those trikes,” said Bonnie Wilson, director of Someplace Safe. “The kids are so anxious to just get outside and play and they want to do things. They just want to throw a ball around. They just want to run and play. I mean, they want to be kids just like when we were kids.”
The program helps kids get exercise and have a little fun so they can forget about whatever else is going on in their lives for a while.
It gives them an opportunity to be outside, playing and acting like children again,” said Beth Schmitt, program director of Christina House.
Nagy said the club promotes outdoor activity and believes the bicycle is the best way to do that.
“We want the DVD’s turned off. We want the television turned off, and we want to see these kids outside, getting some fresh air,” said Nagy.
Club members helped load up the trikes and roll them out to the different shelters.