Every year we work with Stafford Elementary School to make our Bikes for Reading Program a success! However, this year was filled with many surprises and great rewards. Our marketing team handed out bikes to students in March, April, and May.
If you’re not familiar with our Bikes for Reading Program, we work directly with the reading teachers at Stafford Elementary School to make everything happen. The teachers hand out sheets to students, then when the students read at least 70 hours they can give them back to the teachers, and they’re entered into a raffle to win a free bike. At the end of the month teachers pull one name from each grade’s raffle, and then our marketing team goes to Toys R Us to purchase bikes for the winners. This year we bought 2 girls and 2 boys bicycles for the months of March, April, and May. Of course, we made sure to show up to the school during the lunch waves. This way students weren’t disrupted from their studies!
In addition to giving away bicycles, we also donated brand new ukuleles to the music department. In fact, our insurance agency partnered up with Safeco Insurance to provide these. There were enough for each student to have and play with. It was great to see all of the children eager to learn a new instrument.
This year was also full of miracles. For example, one student had approached us about her father. She mentioned how she misses him and it’s hard to see him because he is currently deployed overseas. We deeply care about veterans and our troops at the agency, so it was hard to see her affected by this.
However, she ended up being our first winner of the year and we couldn’t be happier for her. It definitely made her outlook on life a bit more positive and couldn’t stop smiling all day long.
We also gave a bike to Ethan. Ethan has a special spot in our hearts here at the insurance agency. Ethan is a local child of Stafford Springs and at 15 months old he was unfortunately diagnosed with cancer in his right kidney. However, on April 29, 2010 he finally became cancer free thanks to the help of the Children’s Medical Center! Even though he has been cancer free, Ethan still had face cancer for years and at a very young age, so we were happy to give back to him.
Additionally, he’s come into our office before to help donate toys to less fortunate kids and has such a positive attitude. Therefore, we were excited to surprise him with a brand new bike. Ethan was pretty speechless and emotional that day and we couldn’t be happier to see him enjoy it.
We also witnessed two wonderful charitable acts this year. During April, a 5th grader named Mackenzie had told her parents and teachers that she didn’t want the bicycle because she already had one. Mackenzie then told us she’d like to donate it to someone who could really use it. So, she pulled another student out of her grade’s raffle and announced the new winner was Isabelle. Isabelle was completely emotional and speechless. It was great to see charitable acts at such a young age!
Additionally, in May, Chris’s son, Gianni had won the 4th grade raffle. It was a surprise for us all. However, even though he had worked hard for it, Gianni really didn’t feel right about accepting the bicycle. Therefore, he also decided to donate his bike back as well. This way a student who really needed one could receive it! Gianni closed his eyes tight and pulled a name out. Gianni had selected a girl as the winner, however, she was more than happy to have the bike. She even told us, “This bike is awesome, my brother is going to be so jealous”!
In addition to winning a brand new bike, winners also received a new book so they can continue to read even when the school year has ended. Parents were also given gift cards to Toys R Us for a helmet so their child is protected while they ride. Our insurance agency believes that a child’s education is fundamental to a successful future and is why we care so much about this program!
We couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out this year! We’d like to give a special thank you to all of the hardworking students who participated this year, the faculty and staff of Stafford Elementary School, and to Plymouth Rock Assurance for teaming up with us this year so we could help give more bicycles out. Our insurance agency is excited to see our young scholars again next year!