On Saturday, 100 students from Cleveland’s Hough neighborhood were rewarded for top marks in academics, citizenship or attendance with the gift of a shiny new red bike.
It was the culmination of the Ride2Achieve Challenge, a year-long Cleveland Police Foundation project designed to encourage students in grades K-8 to safely walk or ride their bikes to school while building community trust between police officers and youth.
During a bike rodeo that was held from 11 am to 3 pm on Saturday at the Hough Multipurpose Center, each of the students progressed through various stations to get their bikes and helmets fitted, and to learn about bike operation and rules of the road.
Once they completed all the stations, they received their new bikes, and went on a neighborhood bike ride with Councilman Basheer Jones.
The bike giveaway and rodeo were organized by Cleveland Police Foundation, with support from Cleveland Division of Police, Cleveland Metropolitan School District-Safe Route to Schools, Little Giants Gym, WKYC and Councilman Jones.
The event culminated with the unveiling of a special Little Free Library with an “Avengers: Infinity War” theme, donated by the Marvel company.
The showpiece library comes along with another gift – a two-year’s supply of books about Marvel characters has been generously donated by Disney Publishing and FirstBook.org. Books featured in the Little Libraries will include Marvel titles such as The Heroes' Journey (Road to Avengers: Infinity War) and The Cosmic Quest Vol. 1, along with many other epic stories.
Hough-area neighbors and community leaders recently came together to designate their community as a “Little Free Library Neighborhood,” meaning they’ve committed to planning monthly literacy events including regular activities to highlight the local Little Free Libraries. The campaign, to be known locally as Hough Reads, will have a strong social media component. Families will be asked to post pictures while reading or visiting local Little Free Libraries, using the hashtag #HoughReads.
Councilman Jones talked to families about how his love of reading as a child helped him mature into a community leader. Then, with help from a costumed Black Panther character, he lifted the drape off the new Little Free Library and helped to hand out armloads of free books.
Children from six Hough-area schools were invited to take part in the bike and book giveaway. The schools are: Daniel E. Morgan, Wade Park, Wilson Elementary, Mary B. Martin, St. Thomas and St. Francis.
Librarians from Cleveland Public Library were present to do crafts and fun activities with the children and to sign them up for the summer reading club. Also, the library brought along its popular “People’s University Express” –a colorful library-on-wheels.
As the youngsters cycled home with their new bike and a bagful of books, they had all they needed for a summer filled with adventure.
A broad mix of partners collaborated to make the event a success including: Cleveland Division of Police NICE and Bike Units and Bureau of Community Policing, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority and the GCRTA Police Department, WKYC, MetroHealth, KeyBank, Case Western Reserve University, Circle for Recovery, community members Cliff Eldemire and Dupry Early, Little Giants, Toshiba, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s office of Family and Community Engagement, Thurgood Marshall Recreation Center, Bike Authority, Cleveland Public Library, Whistling Dixie Cleaning & Janitorial Services LLC. Thanks also to Arby’s, which donated free food for the event.