UPDATE: After our story aired on Thursday morning, an ABC15 viewer decided to donate roughly $3,600 in order to make the dreams of Tilda Richardson come true at Lindbergh Elementary School. Richardson tells ABC15 she expects the bikes to arrive by the fall and is already preparing for how to implement the bikes into her PE classes.
For 12 years, Physical Education teacher Tilda Richardson has been inspiring the minds and bodies of children across the Valley.
Richardson has spent the last three years of her career at Lindbergh Elementary School in Mesa.
"We are a Title I school, the free and reduced lunch is at 90%. Kids are generally dropped off at school and truthfully, not very many kids own a bike,” said Richardson.
Recently, she learned about the ‘All Kids Bike’ program and its availability to bring a set of ‘strider bikes’ to her PE classroom. Through crowd fundraising and corporate sponsors, educators like herself are placed on a list to receive the gift all in the name of learning how to ride.
“These are special bikes, they’re strider bikes and they come without the pedals at first so that these kids can learn how to balance just using their feet,“ she adds.
Through the program, she will receive a classroom set of 24 bikes, helmets, a bike for herself, and eight lessons to accompany the teaching process. The strider bikes are different in that the students learn about balancing and strengthen their core before the pedaling process begins.
“With just one bolt we add the pedals when they are ready and it makes learning how to ride much easier,” she adds.
“I have to bring this to our kids. This would be such a great opportunity. I mean, I think riding a bike is so much fun, such great exercise, great for the environment.”
Unfortunately, the cost is where the rubber meets the road. The cost totals roughly $5,000 and right now, the school’s fundraising sits at around $1,200. Still, Ms. Richardson can’t help but think of how this program will benefit not just one school year, but many to come.
“When I think about when the new kindergartners arrive and participate in this program and they learn how to ride and then when these kids are in 6th grade and ready to graduate, our whole school will know how to ride. I think that will be pretty monumental.”
If you would like to help with donations, you can do so here.