TurningWheels For Kids is one of the VMC Foundation's most accomplished programs, each year providing over 3,000 FREE BIKES to low-income kids in Silicon Valley.
The TurningWheels For Kids program combats childhood obesity with a simple proven solution: providing free bikes to low-income children in order to help them achieve better health. TurningWheels For Kids aims to transform children's lives by enticing them back outdoors, away from television and computers, and to reintroduce outdoor activity and play. And what better way to do that than by providing the item most requested by low-income children, according to local social workers: a free bike!
WHY DOES THIS MATTER?
Santa Clara County is facing an epidemic of childhood obesity. An alarming 35% of 5th grade students were overweight or obese in 2015. That rate jumps to 49% for low-income Latino children. At current rates, it is predicted that as many as 1 in 2 Latino children will develop diabetes, a previously unheard of childhood disease. Poor diet and lack of exercise are the main contributors to childhood obesity, yet "screen time" - time spent watching television, playing video games, and browsing the internet - is at an all time high.
Obesity doesn't just lead to physical health issues for kids; there are major emotional health concerns as well. According to the Obesity Action Coalition, bullying related to size begins early and only increases with age. By high school, a staggering 58% of boys and 63% of girls are subjected to daily teasing and bullying because of their weight. Bullying, in turn, has been linked to an increase in teen alcohol and drug consumption, teen pregnancy, and teen suicide.
WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?
TurningWheels for Kids offers a unique solution! The program provides bicycles to needy children and helps keep them operational through free community-based bicycle repair clinics. The "secret sauce" that makes this program so effective is the genuine joy it brings to the children who participate. Many adults can remember back to the excitement of receiving their first bicycle, the thrill of freedom and the feeling of pure fun when riding through a park or around the neighborhood. This intervention works because it provides kids with something most of them inherently enjoy: their very own bicycle! This program does not try to force children to adopt fitness activities outside of their natural interests and instincts. It works precisely because getting fit by riding a bike doesn't feel like a chore to children; it leverages the fitness benefits of an inherently fun activity and makes the tools to participate in that activity (bike and helmet) accessible to all children, regardless of their family's financial status.
YOU CAN HELP!
TurningWheels for Kids is actively fundraising to purchase a large van that will serve as a mobile bike repair clinic... traveling to all corners of Santa Clara County to make sure that donated bikes stay in good long-term condition. Help us keep kids healthy and riding their bikes by making a donation today!
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You can learn more about the TurningWheels for Kids program online at: www.turningwheelsforkids.org