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Student and organization peddle a charitable idea

Bike collection serves multiple purposes

May 1, 2012

A Wauwatosa West sophomore and a Milwaukee nonprofit organization are teaming up to collect unwanted bicycles to benefit youngsters and adults who may not be able to afford new ones.

A bicycle drive collection will be held from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday at the north end of the parking lot at Wauwatosa West High School, 11400 W. Center St.

Student's three reasons

Sydney Vander Velde is the West student who is heading the drive. She said she was motivated to lead the project for three reasons: the importance of donating items to Goodwill, her desire to development leadership skills and her love of cycling.

"I have been involved in community service programs through Key Club," Vander Velde said. "I have helped with the Kiwanis breakfasts and Easter Egg Hunts. It's a lot of fun, but this gives me a whole different perspective to lead a project. It involves organizing and planning ahead. It's a leadership learning opportunity."

Student Resource Officer Doug Braun said Vande Velde has been an effective leader.

"She has worked hard," Braun said. "Posters have been made and put up all over the school and in the community. It should result in a successful collection."

Vander Velde's said her cycling interest was sparked by her dad.

"We are active bikers," she said, noting their participation in a number of organized long-distance bicycling events. In fact, Vander Velde and her dad, Marty, have biked across Iowa on a 500-mile, seven-day marathon four different times and they have participated in Wisconsin's Trek 100 in Waterloo.

"Biking has really brought us together," she said. "I think by doing this bicycle collection, I hope that we can give other families the same experience."

Nonprofit's appreciation

The Milwaukee nonprofit is DreamBikes, a Brewers Hill enterprise of a Madison-based organization that hires high school students who work on cleaning and refurbishing bikes that are sold for a fraction of their new counterparts. Jobs said the organization also accepts used helmets, tire pumps and other bicyle accessories.

"We have been operating for two years, and this is the first time we have worked with a high school," said Russell Jobs, DreamBikes Milwaukee store. "I think it's terrific that a high school student from Wauwatosa has taken an interest. It's really good to see that support."

RECYCLING CYCLES

WHAT: Bicycle Collection

WHERE: Wauwatosa West, 11400 W. Center St., north end of parking lot

WHEN: 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 4

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