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To kickstart the 2023-24 school year, All Kids Bike, a nonprofit dedicated to providing schools with the tools to teach kindergarteners how to ride bikes during physical education classes, has launched two new programs in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) schools. This initiative was made possible through a generous $100,000 grant from Yamaha Motor Corp., USA, via its Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative (OAI).
The inaugural beneficiaries of the All Kids Bike Kindergarten Learn-to-Ride PE Program, funded by Yamaha's grant, are 74th Street Elementary and Virginia Roads Elementary, both Title 1 schools within the LAUSD.
To generate excitement for the program and raise awareness of All Kids Bike's mission, Yamaha enlisted the help of its celebrity athletes and ambassadors. They delivered a brand-new fleet of bicycles to 74th Street Elementary School on a Friday morning, with SuperMotocross cameras capturing the moment for broadcasts during Race Day Live and Gate Drop coverage on Peacock and USA Network.
Present at the bike unveiling event were notable figures from the Yamaha family, including Eli Tomac from Yamaha Star Racing, a 2-time Monster Energy Supercross 450 Champion and multiple-time motocross champion; Yamaha Ambassador Ryan Villopoto, a 4-time Supercross Champion; Yamaha Ambassador Damon Bradshaw, a legendary Supercross rider; and Yamaha Bicycles and All Kids Bike ambassador Brian Lopes, an inductee into the Mountain Bike and BMX Hall of Fame.
Eli Tomac shared his thoughts, saying, "You never forget when you learned to ride a bike, and I'll never forget seeing how excited these kids were when we showed them the fleet of shiny new bikes and gave them a first ride. We're here to help raise awareness for the All Kids Bike program and to get people excited about bringing this program to more schools in Los Angeles and across the country. Riding bikes is one of the most fun things you can do when you're a kid, and it's also a really important skill that gives you confidence and a sense of freedom you just can't get any other way."
The event also featured key LAUSD representatives, including Juanita Rainey-Woods, LAUSD Region South Administrator; Will Celestine and Maggie Yu-DiPasquale from LAUSD Wellness Programs; and Adriana Valenzuela from LAUSD Physical Education. The ultimate goal of All Kids Bike is to implement the program in every school within LAUSD.
Dr. Cairen Ireland, principal of 74th Street Elementary and Gifted Magnet, emphasized the importance of partnerships like All Kids Bike and Yamaha, stating, "Student outcomes depend largely on their access to a safe, loving environment and rich learning experiences. It's partners like All Kids Bike and Yamaha that help bridge our scholars to these great opportunities. Fostering wellness and having fun while doing it is a win-win!"
The All Kids Bike Kindergarten Learn-to-Ride PE Program comprises 24 balance bikes, pedal conversion kits, helmets, a teacher instruction bike, SHAPE-standard curriculum, teacher training, and equipment storage racks. This comprehensive package equips teachers to teach kids how to progress from balancing to riding a bike in just eight lessons. Among the 434 elementary schools in LAUSD, over 68 have already incorporated the All Kids Bike program into their PE curriculum, recognizing the significant value of this skill in enhancing children's lives both inside and outside the classroom.
Lisa Weyer, executive director of the Strider Education Foundation, the nonprofit operating All Kids Bike, expressed deep gratitude for Yamaha's generous support and the commitment of school districts like LAUSD. She said, "The unwavering support of generous donors like Yamaha and the steadfast commitment of school districts in recognizing the profound importance of the All Kids Bike program empower us to bring the joy of riding to countless children, fostering not only physical skills but also a sense of freedom, confidence, and happiness that will positively impact their lives for years to come."
In 2023, All Kids Bike received a $100,000 grant from the Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative, bringing Yamaha's total commitment to All Kids Bike programs over the past three years to $200,000.
Steve Nessl, Yamaha Motorsports marketing manager, summed up the day by saying, "Yamaha is about creating experiences, creating memories, and today we're about getting these kids on bikes. Too many kids don't get the opportunity to learn how to ride a bike these days. We hope these grants help inspire some of these kids to enjoy having fun outdoors, get some exercise, and be excited about school."