Via the grant, MCE is one of 26 organizations to receive a $1,000 grant for a project designed to encourage students and their families to safely walk and bicycle to school. The proposed Minneapolis program includes a two-part bicycle repair program for youth. During the winter, 12 students will refurbish bicycles donated by a local shop, as well as be trained in bicycle safety. Upon program graduation, each student will receive a helmet, lock and bicycle. Graduates will also serve as cycling ambassadors in their schools, and provide bicycle repair services to peers during the next National Bike to School week. Additional refurbished bicycles and training will also be offered as part of that event.
Walking or biking to school helps children achieve the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity recommended for health each day. The Safe Routes to School program aims to make bicycling and walking safe, accepted in the community, and fun. Small programs, such as this mini-grant program, can make real differences in community acceptance of cycling to school with a low price tag. This is a perfect example of the kind of program I’ve talked about in the past — one using smaller investment funds to help reach out into new communities or enhance visibility of existing infrastructure, and not an expensive infrastructure program. While $1,000 isn’t chump change, it’s also an achievable funding goal for many organizations even as local governments lack the money to do much more. I look forward to hearing the results of this project!