Despite the rain, the San Francisco 49ers hosted its annual Bike Build event with Turning Wheels for Kids presented by Optum, on November 2. With the help of volunteers from Optum and the 49ers staff, 50 bikes were assembled and donated to several students from the 49ers Academy.
According to the San Francisco 49ers, Turning Wheels for Kids is a nonprofit organization that distributes bikes throughout the year during a variety of partnerships that focus on preventing “childhood obesity and supporting low – income families, which aligns with the 49ers Academy’s mission to keep kids ‘Safe, On Track, and In School’.”
For 49ers long snapper, Kyle Nelson (#86) and his teammates, who helped the volunteers with assembly at the event, charity events like the Bike Build aim to give back to the community and “…to see the smiles on their [the children] faces.”
These bikes will not only serve as a source of physical activity and fun, but as a means of transportation to and from their school in East Palo Alto. Many of the students who will be receiving a bike this past Monday will be receiving their very first bike.
A bike can play a variety of roles in a child’s development. For some, a bike represents the first taste of freedom and an opportunity to explore. For others, a bike represents ownership and a first chance to take care of something.
“For those kids… it’ll be transportation, it’ll be a lifeline, it’ll be something that helps them get where they need to go and continues them on their trajectory towards a better future.” says Joanne Pasternack, Director of Community Relations with the San Francisco 49ers.
Founded in 1996, the 49ers Academy aims to provide a safe learning space for the most “disenfranchised student population” in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. The 49ers Academy aims to maximize the “potential of every student by emphasizing self-discipline, respect, and individualized academic attention” in order to prepare students for high school and further educational projects. For more information, visit www.49ersacademy.org
Optum is an “information and technology- enabled health services business” that serves to help make health systems work better and improve the health of the overall population. For more information, visit www.optum.com.