What is the Sequoia project?
Friday, August 7, 2009
Lose the Wheels.
Lose the Wheels.
Today was an interesting day. The phone had rang last night and told me where to go.
The program was teaching disabled children how to ride bicycles. A local public school was holding the camp on their facilities.
On the drive there I thought about how courageous these kids are. This was the first day of writing about my experiences and it had good symbolism in starting things out. After about 20 minutes of meeting people and learning about the program kids started to show up.
This morning I witnessed examples of how life is basically for all of us. We start out believing we can do something, but often fall along the way. Kids first started out in the gym riding bikes specially equipped with back rollers. They learned that they could actually feel the wind without fear of landing hard on the ground. They trusted and were helped along by others who cared about their lives.
Many were scared at first, needing encouragement and support. To watch them later laughing and feeling proud of themselves was a transformation. Staff and volunteers would shorten the back pin as the kids grew more skilled. With each stage came a new challenge. The goal could be seen but yet not felt. They were there to learn how to ride a bike with no training wheels.
We all can probably remember the training wheels coming off our bikes. The incredible feelings of independence and freedom. These children wanted this. The people around them did the same.
The goal was to help these kids slowly move from the gym to the outdoor runners track. Another scary crossroad. This is where I seen the faces of achievement and success. Bikes no longer had back rolling pins but regular tires. A brace in the back of the bike made it possible for spotters to hold on. I watched as some kids struggled and were telling others they did not want any help. They knew what they were doing and could do it themselves. Overcoming challenges were nothing to them. They struggled simply to be excepted and treated as the human beings they were. I watched as this spirit soon propelled the wheels on their bikes faster.
Being part of this experience taught me about a little girl named Trish (not real name). I knew her only by a pink helmet and a smile. She went from never knowing what it was like to ride a bike (without training wheels on) to looking like Lance Armstrong!
Having surgery on a wrist soon so was limited in how I could help. Simply did what I could. Spent about 5 hours on a project highlighting them to different major media outlets. There is always a way to help.