Detroit Students Receive Free Bike, Books For School Achievement

DETROIT—This month, 530 students from Detroit Public Schools, the Education Achievement Authority and the Pontiac School District will receive a new bicycle, helmet and three books as a reward for their school achievement.

The students, all part of the Communities in Schools of Detroit program to prevent school dropouts, are taking part in the organization’s first ever Books and Bikes Campaign to promote reading and physical activity during the summer months.

About 450 students from Detroit Public Schools and the Education Achievement Authority will receive their bikes and books at a recognition ceremony Saturday at the Detroit Public Schools Warehouse.

“This event is all about recognizing the kids and their accomplishments,” Sonja Allen, chief executive officer of Communities in Schools said in a press release. “This is our way of showing the students that someone does care about their efforts in school.”

The campaign is part of CIS’s larger Achievement Matters program, which encourages students to succeed by rewarding achievement in reaching goals in the “ABCs.” Attendance, Behavior and Course Performance. CIS Data Manager Valdez Tilton said there are about 550 students total enrolled in the Achievement Program and, with 530 receiving bikes and books, the vast majority achieved their goals for the year.

Last year, the top performing CIS students at each school received a trip to the Kalahari waterpark in Sandusky, Ohio. But Reyonna Orr, manager of School-Based services, said this year, CIS wanted the reward to be more inclusive.

“[We] wanted to find a way to honor all the kids who were reaching their goals,” she said. Tilton said previous years which included trips to Kalahari were only able to reward about 100 kids, but an increased number of sponsors and donations have allowed them to expand the program for the Bikes and Books Campaign.

“This is our first time rolling out an event this size,” she said. The campaign is funded by several community partners including Chrysler, NASA, Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Children Incorporated and Evans Distribution Systems who have purchased the new books, bikes and helmets and also volunteered their time in labor to assemble the bikes.

“It’s great to see people in the community helping out for a worthwhile cause,” Tilton said.

CIS works with schools on a “whole” basis or on an individual level to provide support and resources for at-risk students. In addition to the Achievement Matters program, CIS offers services in physical and mental health, conflict resolution and violence prevention, art and music education, financial literacy and tutoring.

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