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Friday, Oct 31, 2014

Foster kids get bikes, and one gets a car

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ST. PETERSBURG — One hundred foster children were lucky enough to receive free bicycles Friday, but one was even luckier.

She got a car.

Danielle McMahan, 21, of Tampa, got the Kia Sedona because of a recommendation from Alejita Rodriguez, the director of Independent Living Services at Eckerd, a nonprofit organization that oversees foster children in the Tampa Bay area.

There were letters submitted by other case managers recommending their charges get the car, but the letter about McMahan’s accomplishments was considered the most impressive, said Terri Durdaller, an Eckerd spokeswoman.

Among other things, McMahan has worked with current and former foster teens and has served on a youth empowerment board. She has also done a nice job balancing her academics with a part-time job as she lives by herself in an apartment, Rodriguez wrote.

Perhaps her biggest accomplishment, Rodriguez wrote, is her acceptance at the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg campus for the spring semester. That car is expected to help her get around.

McMahan and the other foster children received their early Christmas presents courtesy of the Amir Academy for the Martial Arts during the 12th Annual Holiday Bike Giveaway.

A handful of local dignitaries spoke at the ceremony, including St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster and former mayor Rick Baker.

sthompson@tampatrib.com

(727) 215-6504

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