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News Release: Wood Buffalo U Can Ride 2 Makes Riding a Bike Accessible for All

Zaki from Christina Gordon Public School tried on a bike this May as his happy father looks onZaki from Christina Gordon Public School tried on a bike this May as his happy father looks on

(FORT MCMURRAY, AB - June 18, 2018) There are some milestones that all parents prepare for their children to attain - for instance eating solid foods, first steps, or going to school. Riding a bike is one one of those milestones, but not easily attained by all children. This is where Wood Buffalo U Can Ride 2 helps. The initiative provides adapted bikes so all children can have the opportunity to ride a bike.

Fort McMurray Public School District and Fort McMurray Catholic Schools are pleased to have many community partners for this project. They include: Canadian Red Cross, Regional Collaborative Service Delivery (RCSD), Safe Community Wood Buffalo, Sport Chek, and Habitual Sports.

"FMPSD and FMCSD have been researching and investigating the U Can Ride Project for a couple of years. The goal was to build our own sustainable “lending library” with a variety of adapted bikes to fit the multitude of special needs, which continue to grow within our community.  With the collaborative efforts and passion from the physical and occupational therapists in both districts, we have succeeded in allowing our children the opportunity to experience the joy of riding a bike. Our plan is to grow this project to increase the number of bikes through sponsorship from individuals and groups within our community. Thank you to the hard work of our therapists who worked many hours to support this initiative," said Shannon Noble, Assistant Superintendent - Inclusive Education, Fort McMurray Public School District.

Fort McMurray Catholic Schools Deputy Superintendent Monica Mankowski, “The first U Can Ride 2 program started in Edmonton in 2012. We’ve been wanting to bring it here ever since. It’s essentially a lending library of adapted bicycles. This allows families to borrow bikes throughout the school year and summer. Children are assessed by a trained physiotherapist or occupational therapist to ensure they have a bike that will suit their individual needs. We are very excited for our second Try a Bike Day.”

Bikes are provided for grades 1-10 this summer. Several children were fitted with adaptive bikes in May and approximately 40 bikes will be available for pick up this Friday at Try a Bike Day. We look forward to expanding this program with additional support in the near future.

“This is a good news story, and one both districts have worked hard on. Congratulations to everyone involved on making this come to fruition for our region’s children,” noted Doug Nicholls, Superintendent, Fort McMurray Public School District.

Fort McMurray Catholic Board of Education Chair Paula Galenzoski, “We could not be more proud of the Fort McMurray Catholic Schools family for making sure that all of our children are included. Our Student Services team has done exceptional work taking care of our children with the most special needs. Having accessible bicycles available for families is a wonderful inclusive way to bring all children together.”

Try a Bike Day will be occurring Friday, June 22, 2018 from 1-6 p.m., at Father Beauregard School. This will provide an opportunity for families to try different bikes and see what suits the needs of their child.

For more information, please contact:

Kiran Malik-Khan                                             

Communications Manager                               

Fort McMurray Public School District                

kiran.malikkhan@fmpsd.ab.ca                      

780-788-8009                                                   

Megan McKenny

Communications           

Fort McMurray Catholic School District

megan.mckenny@fmcsd.ab.ca

780-799-5700 ext. 5022