By Bill O’Boyle - [email protected]

Bike-a-thon raises safety awareness and needed funds

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Brody May and Jackson Stash bike at the bike-a-thon for St. Judes Hospital at Wilkes-Barre Academy on Tuesday morning.
Aimee Dilger | Times Leader
Pre-schoolers at Wilkes-Barre Academy’s Small Wonders bike in the schools lot Tuesday to raise funds for St. Jude’s hospital.
Aimee Dilger | Times Leader

WILKES-BARRE — Kids helping kids.

With parents watching on the sidelines, children on tricycles, training wheels and scooters were circling the parking lot at Small Wonders/Wilkes-Barre Academy Tuesday, all to raise awareness for bike safety and money for sick children.

The 30th annual Bike-A-Thon was held in brisk weather, sprinkled with sunshine at the education center on Stevens Road off Sherman Street.

Ralph Pringle, director of special programming at the center, said since the event first began in 1987, more than $100,000 has been raised for the St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

“The children are given a half hour to ride their bicycles as a reward for raising money for St. Jude’s,” Pringle said. “All of the participants go through a week-long course on bicycle safety. St. Jude’s provides the information for the program.”

Small Wonders is a day care center and Wilkes-Barre Academy is a certified school with students attending kindergarten through eighth grade.

One parent watching intently was Tara Gorski, whose daughter, Lily, age 2, was riding her Mini Mouse train bicycle. Gorski, 27, of Warrior Run, said she attended Small Wonders and Wilkes-Barre Academy and she participated in the bike-a-thon some 20 years ago.

“I’ve always loved this event,” Gorski said. “Lily wouldn’t wear her helmet, but after attending the safety classes and seeing her classmates wearing theirs, she now wears it all the time. I love seeing my kid do this event like I did when I was her age.”

Cappie Evers, co-owner of Small Wonders and Wilkes-Barre Academy with her sister, Cletta Salavantis, said they opened the center in 1978 and they have another facility in the Back Mountain. They have about 350 students enrolled.

“We wanted to do something for children,” Evers said, talking about the bike-a-thon event. “We chose St. Jude’s because they do so much good work for children.”

And, Evers said, her students learn bike safety, raise money for St. Jude’s and have fun while doing it.

“It’s great to watch this event grow over the years,” Evers said. “We now have children here whose parents also attended school here.”

Evers said the eighth-graders will graduate on June 1 and go off to area high schools. Evers said it’s always a sad time to see her graduates move on, but she said she is proud of the work her staff does.

“We try to teach the children, in their time here, to give back to their community,” Evers said. “The bike-a-thon is a good example of that.”

About Small Wonders

Small Wonders has both an informal educational and formal educational program.

The informal program deals basically with the alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes and a monthly theme dealing with such topics as seasons, holidays, home address and phone numbers, safety, etc.

The formal educational program is much more stringent. The preschool and Pre-K deal in-depth with the same topics, as the informal program, as well as, vowels, phonetics, numerical concepts, geography and Spanish.

Small Wonders also recognizes the need for exercise. Equipped with many pieces of equipment, the children are encouraged to utilize their times of free play to their best advantage. Each class also has the opportunity to participate in music and art classes. Small Wonders strives to insure each child the best “all-around” education possible.

About Wilkes-Barre Academy

Wilkes-Barre Academy is a private, independent, elementary and middle school.

Classes are offered for students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.

Students at the Academy enjoy close relationships and forge life-long bonds within the close-knit academic community, while benefiting from the advanced academic curriculum offered.

For more information

Call: (570) 823-7574

Website: www.wbacademy.com

Brody May and Jackson Stash bike at the bike-a-thon for St. Judes Hospital at Wilkes-Barre Academy on Tuesday morning.
https://www.theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_TTL051017Bike2.jpgBrody May and Jackson Stash bike at the bike-a-thon for St. Judes Hospital at Wilkes-Barre Academy on Tuesday morning. Aimee Dilger | Times Leader

Pre-schoolers at Wilkes-Barre Academy’s Small Wonders bike in the schools lot Tuesday to raise funds for St. Jude’s hospital.
https://www.theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_TTL051017Bike1.jpgPre-schoolers at Wilkes-Barre Academy’s Small Wonders bike in the schools lot Tuesday to raise funds for St. Jude’s hospital. Aimee Dilger | Times Leader

By Bill O’Boyle

[email protected]

Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.

Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.