GIBSONTON – March 7 was a big day at Kids R Kids Southshore. For the sixth year running the local childcare center invited its preschoolers to bring their bikes and trikes for the day and ride them to benefit sick children.
The festivities were part of the annual St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s annual week-long Trike-A-Thon, which involves kids at thousands of pre-schools and daycares across the country. The effort is aimed at teaching them bike and riding-toy safety, first by using interactive stories featuring characters Bikewell Bear and Pedals the Bunny, and then at week’s end putting what they learned into practice.
Part of the program includes kids learning about helping others, including the children being cared for by St. Jude’s, where no patient is ever denied treatment because of their family’s inability to pay. So the youngsters hit up their families and friends to support the hospital by pledging a donation. The money they bring in supports St. Jude’s in-hospital care and research for cures of childhood disease.
For their efforts the preschoolers win prizes based on their levels of fundraising. These include backpacks, T-shirts, hand puppets and pillows.
Kids R Kids has raised about $10,000 since it started participating in 2008.
This year 160 children participated in the Kids R Kids Trike-A-Thon with the goal of raising $1,500. The monies are due Friday.
“It’s a great cause and a fun way for our kids to begin learning about giving back,” said Carrie Elwell, Kids R Kids co-owner and event coordinator. “Even at their young ages they understand that this is to help sick children. And they look forward to participating each year.
“They love bringing their bikes and showing off their riding skills to their friends,” she said. “We see only pure joy on their faces.”
Since its inception in 1983, the St. Jude Trike-A-Thon program has raised more than $87 million. For information, visit the St. Jude website or call (800) 626-2453.
If you’d like to make a donation to the Kids R Kids Trike-A-Thon drive for St. Jude’s, call (813) 672-0400 or visit the school website.