"Lose The Training Wheels" Helps Special Needs Kids
MILWAUKEE - Some special needs children never learn to ride a two wheel bike, but thanks to a new program, local students have a new way to get around.
Students are on a roll at Saint Jude the Apostle School in Wauwatosa.
It's all part of the “Lose The Training Wheels” program.
The intensity is huge...as the special needs students learn to ride a bike. Students put on the proper gear before they start to cycle, all with the help of dedicated volunteers.
They start indoors with specially designed training wheels. Everyone gets a real workout.
Nicole Cook, a board member with the Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin coordinates the effort. The classes give kids self esteem, independence and a lot of joy.
“It’s a rite of passage for these children and they are having a great time out there. It’s nice to see the smiles on everyone’s faces. It makes us smile as volunteers and being able to do this program,” Cook said.
As kids handle the handle bars, you can see the pride as they perfect their pedaling.
“We had some children afraid to get on a bike in the beginning who are afraid and to be able to see them get on this bike, see them ride and knowing this is going to be a life long benefit to them and their family, I think that’s really the biggest benefit to being a volunteer,” Cook said.
This is the first year for the “Lose The Training Wheels” program. Organizers hope to do it all again next year with twice the number of students.
After time indoors, it's time to go outside and "Lose The Training Wheels.”
TODAY’S TMJ4’s Carole Meekins: “This has to make you feel good as a dad.”
“Yeah it certainly does. Now I’m going to have to watch him. He’s going to want to be out all the time, but thats ok. It’s all about him,” Russell Paprocki said.
It is all about him, and it’s moments like this that give everyone involved a feeling of joy, and accomplishment. After all, the volunteers know they've steered the students toward a skill that will last a lifetime.
The program is sponsored by the Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin, the Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin, and Special Therapies Incorporated.
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The classes last a week, and the last one ended Friday, but organizers are already gearing up for next year.