Wish for Wheels giving bikes to local children
Wish for Wheels is a nonprofit that gives new bikes and helmets to kids in kindergarten through second grade, all through corporate philanthropy. To get involved as a business, individual or recipient of a bike, visit http://www.wishforwheels.org.
AVON — A new bike gives children a sense of responsibility, adventure, wellness and community, and one philanthropic family visiting Vail gave 25 local kids that sensation on Aug. 3.
The Raskas family was in Vail celebrating the patriarch of the family’s 75th birthday and decided to give back locally by linking up with Wish for Wheels, a nonprofit based out of Denver.
“We all decided it would be nice to give back on this occasion as a way to show our appreciation for being able to celebrate and to be in such a wonderful place as Vail,” Dr. Heschel Raskas said, who celebrated his birthday with his five children and his grandchildren, as well as his wife, Adinah.
The Raskas family funded the bike build with Wish for Wheels and also helped construct the bikes at Avon Salvation Army with parents of the children. After building the bikes, they presented them to the kids.
“They were riding around on the bikes as soon as they got them in their hands,” said Laura Hartman, a volunteer with Americorps Vista who helps coordinate the event.
Wish for Wheels has been giving away new bikes and helmets to kids in kindergarten through second grade since 2005. To date, they have provided about 16,000 bikes for kids.
The 20-inch singlespeed coaster-brake bikes can be life changing for kids.
“I think a lot of kids aren’t used to getting a brand new bike that’s just for them,” Hartman said.
Colorado Mountain Express provided the transportation for the Raskas family from Vail to the Salvation Army in Avon, and Vail Valley Medical Center was there to make sure helmets fit correctly.
The Raskas family, coming from St. Louis and Washington D.C., are active in charitable causes.
“I think for our grandchildren and our children, it really made them feel like they were a part of giving back by actually doing the work to assemble the bikes,” Raskas said. “I think it made the giving very meaningful.”
“It’s life changing,” said Brad Appel, founder of Wish for Wheels. “It’s a way to change a kid’s life.”
Another bike build is planned for Sept. 10, with Umbrella Roofing partnering with Wish for Wheels to build 100 bikes at the Avon Salvation Army. To get involved as a business, individual or recipient of a bike, visit http://www.wishforwheels.org.
Reporter Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2915 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.