by Maggie Priesmeyer, Director of Programs
We are SUPER proud of our education team and all of their hard work over the last few months! We want to share some of our favorite highlights from this fall.
Once again, youth education programs engaged a record number of students across 10 schools in Missouri and 8 schools in Kansas this semester. Around 3,000 total students participated in BLAST, Earn-a-Bike, Bike Club, and Active Ambassador programs. This is in addition to the thousands of kids and adults that participated in the 30 community outreach events we helped support around the region this fall.
Our new pre-BLAST curriculum, aimed at teaching students how to ride bicycles and practice the basics of bike safety, launched in full swing this semester. There are now 120 new and capable bike riders around KC thanks to the pre-BLAST addition! Additionally, over 95 bikes were earned through after-school programs and are now in the hands of students who will use them to bicycle to school and around their neighborhoods.
We are engaged in exciting conversations with a few school districts around the region about formally adopting our curricula and implementing programs like BLAST in every school. We hope to expand the Lawrence Public Schools train-the-trainer model to equip local school districts with the means to operate, grow, and sustain the program. The enthusiasm shared by our school district partners is very encouraging and says a lot about the quality and impact of our programs!
The education team continues to weave advocacy opportunities and real-life infrastructure practice through the bike club program. Students from East High School got a chance to ride the brand new Grand Boulevard bike lane shortly after it was constructed this fall.
We can not wait to see more facilities built and connected so that students can utilize them to get around our city.
We are happy to debut our first video in the general Bicycling Safety 101 series. This is the first of several basic safety videos that will be available on our website, brought to you by BikeWalkKC’s education instructors. Enjoy and please feel free to share!
We hosted Confident City Cycling for Women-Only and a Maintain Your Ride Clinic to a diverse group of over 45 people this fall. We also introduced an Advanced Maintain Your Ride class, which was extremely well attended– 16 participants learned finer details about bottom brackets, headsets, truing wheels, replacing brake and shift cables, and more.
The education team continues to focus on strengthening relationships with community organizations and addressing transportation equity issues through hosting classes in partnership with Hope Faith Ministries, Artists Helping the Homeless, Rosedale Development Association, and Amethyst Place. We are excited to continue to support these wonderful organizations with Earn-a-Bike programs and outreach events next year.
Looking Forward to 2018
Schools are already on the schedule this spring for our popular youth education programs; and we will continue to have conversations with school districts about sustainability and integrating our programs district-wide. We are excited to dive into an evaluation of our programming and implement hands-on built environment interventions with our partners at Children’s Mercy Kansas City through a grant from the Aetna Foundation. This grant will enable us to lay the groundwork for more effective programming, increased community partnerships, and improved evaluation across the region.
Stay tuned for the rollout of our 2018 adult class schedule featuring Confident City Cycling and Maintain Your Ride workshops and a new opportunity: OPEN SHOP. This workshop is open to BikeWalkKC members and provides opportunities to use our bike shop, tools, and instructor knowledge to work on your own bikes!
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