The iCan Bike program came to Orange County’s Soka University from August 5 through 9 and taught about 40 disabled children to ride bikes.
All riders started in the gym on special bikes with extra wheels to help them balance. The bikes were specially designed with handles that allowed volunteers, aged 16 or older, to assist the riders. Some riders learned faster than others, so they were taken outside to ride two-wheeled bikes.
Though volunteers faced challenges while working with the riders, they overcame the obstacles.
Ted Chung, a 23-year-old volunteer, said, ”It was hard to communicate with my rider at first… It was a hard job, but I think it really paid off and became a valuable memory to me, seeing my rider smiling [and] knowing that he learned how to ride a bike.”
”This organization is just wonderful,” stated Ed Smith, whose 16-year-old son Mikey Smith has Down Syndrome and participated in the event. “I’m so thankful to the volunteers who spend so much time and energy to teach Mikey how to ride a bike. It’s like a love for the kids.”
“If the kids can ride a bike,” Smith continued, “they can pretty much do anything a normal kid can do.”
iCan Bike is a branch of iCan Shine, which was formerly known as Lose the Training Wheels. The program travels around the nation, and its website says that it will soon offer training in gymnastics, swimming and dancing.
According to Lisa Ruby, the founder of iCan Shine, “play is the purest form of therapy.”