iCan Shine Works to Get Disabled Individuals on Bikes
This is a guest post by Lisa Ruby, Executive Director of iCan Shine, an organization that enables individuals with disabilities to learn how to ride a bike. Do you remember what it was like when you first learned to ride a bicycle? Remember the freedom and independence you felt powering a bike on your own? Think about how it feels when you ride today. You can help a person with a disability have that same uplifting experience to independently ride a two-wheeler. You can change the lives of our riders and their families forever. iCan Shine is a 501(c)(3) national nonprofit organization providing quality adapted recreational programming. Our iCan Bike program teaches people with disabilities to ride conventional two-wheel bicycles. For many people with disabilities, learning to ride a bicycle is a seemingly impossible task that they can typically master in less than a week’s time through our program. This achievement, in turn, creates a gateway of opportunity, helping them gain self-reliance in many other aspects of their lives. Riders gain self-esteem and self-confidence, learn a lifetime leisure skill, and acquire a new option for recreation and exercise to increase their physical fitness levels. Riding a bike provides opportunities for inclusion for both our riders and their families. In many cases, riding a bicycle becomes a mode of independent transportation for our riders. Click here to check out stories of featured riders and read more about what we do at iCan Shine below the jump. Our bike camps are weeklong events during which the rider attends one 75-minute session per day. A full camp has up to 5 sessions serving up to 40 riders in total. Volunteers are recruited at local camps in the U.S. and Canada to work directly with the same camper each day. Campers ride adapted bikes, then transition to two-wheelers and, finally, to their own family bicycle by the last day of camp. Volunteer spotters provide emotional support and encouragement while walking, jogging, or running alongside each rider to ensure their physical safety. Camp hosts recruit a minimum of two volunteers per rider. We could not operate iCan Bike without the help of our dedicated, generous volunteers. If you would like to share your passion for cycling with people with disabilities and their families and volunteer at one of our iCan Bike camps, there are bike camps locally. The next will be hosted by the Arlington County Department of Parks & Recreation from July 29 to Aug. 2 at Kenmore Middle School. For more information and to sign up to volunteer, contact April Rosenthal at firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep checking our website map for more camps (click on any sun icon to see detailed information). We are adding bike camps on a daily basis as we get closer to the summer. You can help us spread the word about iCan Bike by directing your friends and family around the U.S. and Canada to our website to find out how they can get involved. If you are unable to volunteer, but would still like to help, you can make a tax-deductible donation.