UAPB Child Development Center kids pedal for philanthropy

Children at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s Child Development Center recently learned about bike safety and raised donations during the St. Jude Trike-A-Thon.

Youngsters climbed aboard bikes of various colors and sizes and pedaled around a course set up in a nearby parking lot. The Trike-A-Thon marked the end of a week of safety curriculum and fundraising to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Children learned riding toy safety lessons through educational materials provided by St. Jude.

“The annual tradition of the Thon is intended to support a great cause and to help young children understand how good it feels to give more than you expect to get back,” said Debra Jefferson, interim director of the Child Development Center. “The children heard about bicycle safety all week long. They have also heard about the importance of riding their bicycles and other supervised outdoor activities, such as running, jumping and climbing.”

The children have also been reminded that this helps to build their large muscles so that they grow up healthy and strong, she said.

“One of the Child Development Center’s focuses for the school year has been prevention of childhood obesity,” she said. “We added more physical activity to the children’s day beginning in August 2012.”

Children got a workout as they rode bikes, trikes and scooters during the Trike-a-Thon.

Many of the young riders wore various safety equipment including helmets, knee pads and elbow pads as they circled the area. Some family members came out to support the children during the Trike-a-Thon.

Emmanuel Gonder, an agriculture business major at UAPB, stopped by to give his 3-year-old cousin Tristan Polk some pointers on riding a bike.

“It’s great for the kids,” Gonder said of the event. “It’s great that they’re making them aware of how important safety is.”

Curtis Criss watched his 5-year-old son Emmanuel pedal around the parking lot.

“He enjoys riding his bike every evening,” he said. “It’s good exercise. It’s good that they are learning about bike safety.”

The children also learned about helping others. Donnell Reed, 4, stopped riding long enough to explain that Trike-A-Thon’s goal is to “help people at the research hospital, to help sick kids. We’re raising money.”

The UAPB Child Development Center will continue to collect donations to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through April 30. Donations may be sent by mail to UAPB Child Development Center, 1200 N. University Drive, Mail Slot 4971, Pine Bluff, AR, 71601. Any checks should be written to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

Details: 575-8809 or 575-7273 or email