Herndon students fix bikes for needy children

Articles in the local Northern Virginia and Fairfax County newspapers about students in the Herndon Middle School who take used and discarded bicycles and repair them so that local children can discover the joys of getting around on 2 wheels caught my attention. About 20 Herndon Middle School students stay after school once a week to help refurbish donated bikes for community children who do not have or cannot afford them.

According to the news reports, under the direction of three Herndon Middle teachers, the students are currently fixing 13 bicycles, which will be donated to 10 children participating in the Neighborhood Resource Center. The center has partnered with the Town of Herndon and Fairfax County to provide aid to residents who are facing social or physical challenges, and submits a list that includes the names, ages and genders of children who need bikes. The students then know what size and style bikes they need to repair. In its third year, the Herndon Middle School Bike Shop has repaired and donated about 30 bicycles to area children. Many of the bikes are completed before the holiday season. The bicycles are donated from all over the county, said teacher Robert Dim, who helps oversee the school’s bike shop.

“The kids have been passing out fliers,” he said. “It seems like finding used bikes isn’t hard to do once the word gets out. We can’t fix every bike that comes in, but we can salvage the parts.” Along with teaching students the benefits of giving back to their community, the program educates them on basic repairs. “We like to salvage as much as possible while teaching the kids about their bikes,” said teacher Cass Hersh, pointing to stacks of bike parts that had been divided into piles by type. “I’ll feel successful if we can get maybe 40 bikes turned around this year.” According to the newspapers, students who frequent the after-school bike repair shop can earn a bicycle of their own at the end of the school year, teachers said. Many of the children involved in the bike repair program said they enjoyed learning about bicycle maintenance and getting a chance to work hands-on.

Bicycle donations may be dropped off at the Herndon Middle School main office, 901 Locust St. in Herndon, between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For additional information about the Herndon Middle School Bike Shop, contact Robert Dim at 703-904-4800 or rmdim@fcps.edu.

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