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Pinewood Students Receive Bicycles and Helmets

Everyone has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year-and-a-half.  Life has been challenging in many ways.  Nisha Phillip Malahoo, a first grade teacher at Pinewood Elementary saw her students and their families struggling, emotionally, financially, and physically.  Nisha had an amazing idea of how to help these families.  She wanted to give a bike to every child in her school who needed one! 

Nisha recognized many of the physical benefits of riding a bike.  Those benefits could backpedal the increased screen time and decreased activity during the pandemic, which contributed to the ever growing epidemic of childhood obesity. She also saw it as a way to keep kids engaged, help them build social skills, and bring other families together in the community.

Michelle Sanchez and Nisha Phillip Malahoo

“As a teacher, it is my duty to ensure my students have everything they need to be academically and socially prepared for the demands of the 21st century,” she shared.

Nisha reached out to Bike/Walk Central Florida to see if we could help make her idea, Bikes for Pinewood’s Kids, become a reality.  We connected Nisha with Rowland with Rusty’s Bicycle Recycle, who were happy to help.  They refurbish bikes to give to those in need. Nisha along with Above and Beyond for Change’s Michelle Sanchez coordinated collection and distribution of the bike giveaway, as well as food boxes for all the families that attended. 

BWCF teamed up with Orange County’s Walk-Ride-Thrive to fit 88 students with helmets earlier in the week and 47 more on Friday at the bike giveaway event. We also shared bicycling safety information with parents during the event.  Orange County Sheriff’s Deputies helped alongside several Pinewood teachers and volunteers to set up the event and load bikes into cars. 

Orange County Sheriff’s Deputies helped out

During the coordination of the event Nisha reminded us of the saying, “it takes a village to raise a child,” and BWCF was honored to be part of the village along with our partners.  Through adversity there is opportunity to grow.  Nisha took that opportunity. She provided more than 100 families with bikes and boxes of food. Now they can experience how riding a bike can spark joy and bring a lifetime of benefits.  With her compassionate heart she has brightened the lives of many people in her community.

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