Number of Participants: 10
Hours Donated: 3
Value of Time Served: $254
Event Type: Children & Youth
Date: August 22, 2017
William Floyd High School
Mastic Beach Road, Mastic Beach
The William Floyd Bicycle Academy, under the direction of occupational therapist Ed Diaz, has grown exponentially in just four short summers from being managed by a handful of volunteers with a small number of bicycles, to having a team of volunteers consisting of teachers, teaching assistants, high school students, community members, college students and more. In addition to assisting students with special needs and general education students, this year the program welcomed students who are medically frail or orthopedically impaired. The program is made possible due to the generosity of the William Floyd community which continues to donate bicycles and other equipment for the program.
“Learning how to ride a bike is an amazing accomplishment to every child, but that in and of itself is not the ultimate goal of the program,” said Mr. Diaz. “The ultimate goal is to give our students the opportunity to be the best that they can be both physically and emotionally so that they can leave the bike program feeling good about themselves.”
In addition to learning how to balance, pedal at appropriate and varied speeds, brake, turn and follow safety rules, they are also strengthening their ability to focus, listen, concentrate and follow directions through to completion.
“Sometimes something truly incredible happens along the way,” said Mr. Diaz. “Students who typically struggle with expressive or receptive language often begin spontaneously expressing their wants and needs.”
Mr. Diaz recounted how students begin conversations with their coaches, ask pertinent and relevant questions, and engage in meaningful conversations about their bike experience. “To every professional who works with students with special needs, this is an amazing accomplishment and one that never ceases to amaze me,” he said.
Diaz, who is quick to share credit for the success of the program, expressed his thanks to all of the volunteers who helped throughout the summer whether it was behind-the-scenes, or directly with the students.