This summer we partnered with Rodgers Health to bring our Youth Education programs to kids at two KC Housing Authority communities in the Old Northeast area. 25 kids participated in Earn-a-Bike and BLAST (Bike Lesson And Safety Training). We are excited about the opportunities this new partnership provides BikeWalkKC to begin measuring the health outcomes to be achieved by helping more kids incorporate physical activity into their daily lives.
We look forward to the coming year when we expand the program to include the parents of these kids and to other adults in the two Housing Authority communities. Our goal is to help the whole family get better access to physical activity, and to transportation to work or school. The community around Rodgers Health is an important part of our Bike Share Equity Plan that strives to ensure all communities have meaningful transportation options.
It was only her second lesson and she was on a roll. BikeWalkKC’s team was patient with Tonya, one of Chouteau Gardens’ youngest residents, as they taught her how to balance and maneuver her bicycle. When she started the program, Tonya didn’t know how to ride a bike, but today, she’s quick to hop on and ride around her neighborhood. Tonya’s story is just one of many success stories from our collaboration with BikeWalkKC.
The partnership is the first of its kind, blending two of BikeWalkKC’s most popular programs and adding health data collection to the mix. It takes place at the two public housing developments served by our C3 program. C3 — Community-Centered Care — is a joint initiative with the Housing Authority of Kansas City, Truman Medical Center and Rodgers Health. Program participants reside in two housing developments near Rodgers Health, and the initiative is designed to help residents access the health resources they need, both to minimize unnecessary ER visits and to maximize long-term health.
BikeWalkKC also strives to build a healthier Kansas City, by working with the community to create healthier lifestyles and redefine KC’s streets as places for people to build a culture of active living. This goal resonated with C3 Behavioral Health Consultant Shontel McGee. When she learned about BikeWalkKC, she was eager to build a connection to help C3 residents.
“I knew it was important that the children at these public housing developments learn the safety of riding a bike, and this encourages physical exercise too,” says Shontel. “Part of our goal at C3 is to help families learn how to live a healthier life, and BikeWalkKC fit right in.”
Maggie Priesmeyer, Education Manager at BikeWalkKC, explains the organization’s mission. “We work with the entire community to try to make KC a healthier, more active place to live. We’re redefining our streets as places for people to build a culture of active living,” she says. BikeWalkKC does this through a robust education program, including both youth and adult classes.
The BikeWalkKC program at C3 blends two of BikeWalkKC’s popular programs: bicycle lessons and safety training. “We teach kids the rules of the road and bike handling skills,” says Laura Steele, Education and Outreach Coordinator with BikeWalkKC. At the program’s conclusion, children who have met the requirements earn a bike and a helmet of their own, so they can put their new skills into action.
Another innovative aspect of the collaboration is the collection of data before and after the program. Shontel and her team recorded the blood pressure and weight of each child before the first class, and at the end of the last class, they’ll check both again. “We’re hopeful to see health changes in these kids as a result of the program,” Shontel says.
“Health data collection is unprecedented for us at BikeWalkKC,” Maggie explains. “We are excited to have the opportunity to integrate that health data to measure some of the effectiveness of the youth program.”
The program concludes in August, and at the last session, about 25 children across both sites will earn their helmet and bike. The pilot program is already proving to be so successful that Shontel and her team intend to continue it in the future. “We’ve been very excited about the results from this,” she smiles.
About Rodgers Health
For nearly 50 years, family has been the focus of our healing work and our mission to provide high quality, compassionate and affordable health care for all. At Rodgers Health, we deliver universal compassion with cultural competence to everyone who walks through our doors.
We believe healthy families are the cornerstone of a healthy community, and we know that taking care of yourself is the best way to take care of your family. It’s health care for everyone, from newborns to seniors. We’re committed to giving you what you need to grow strong and live a healthy life. That’s what it means to be family at Rodgers Health.