Lewisburg social worker repairs abandoned bikes, donates to students

Adrian Rojas, left, and Ethan Vinolas, Lewisburg Area High School students, show off a pair of bikes that district social worker Jared Curry, right, restored and gifted to them.

Good social workers have a knack for finding solutions to problems large and small.

Jared Curry serves as the social worker at Lewisburg Area High School. Several years ago, he heard students talking about their need for bicycles. Curry donated two bikes that his kids had outgrown.

“Some kids were talking about how they were bored and didn’t have a lot to do. They were talking about how they didn’t have bikes or they were stolen,” Curry said. “Whenever I hear any need I try to get the kids hooked up.”

It was a kind gesture but not a sustainable model for future requests. So, Curry connected with the Buffalo Valley Regional Police Department the next time the issue arose. The department has unclaimed bikes, either stolen or abandoned, of all conditions in storage.

Chief Paul Yost said the bikes are kept for 90 days. If no one shows to make a claim, they’re considered abandoned. The bikes take up storage room at the department. Yost said they dispose of them appropriately depending on the condition of the bike.

“In this case we have a chance to have the bikes be used again,” Yost said, adding that Union County Probation Department has also taken bikes to repurpose.

Curry takes the bikes in the best shape and performs basic maintenance: oils the chains, replaces inner tubes, pumps up the tires, replaces the seats. The easy part follows: he delivers them to students who voice a need.

Curry estimates he’s donated a dozen bikes over the past six years including two recent donations.

“I make sure they’re rideable. I’m not going to give a kid something to cause them more stress and cost them time in fixing them up,” Curry said.

Adrian Rojas and Ethan Vinolas each accepted a bike from Curry this school year. Vinolas, 14, a freshman, said he wanted a bike to simply get around town. Rojas, 15, also a freshman, will do the same but he’s also got another reason.

“I’m starting work soon so the bike is pretty nice to get to work,” Rojas said. “I’m surprised I got it for free. They’re really nice bikes, good quality.”

Curry self-describes as a tinkerer. He used to ride BMX bikes as a kid and as an adult, had rode mountain bikes with his own kids. He knows the value such basic transportation can afford an independent student without a ride of their own, be it motorized or pedal powered.

At times, Curry goes into his own pockets to pay for the necessities. Other times, colleagues at the high school help. Curry and Van Wagner, environmental science teacher at Lewisburg High, are advisors for the school’s Skate Club. Wagner’s donated helmets from that program over the years.

“A fantasy would be to have a room full of bikes and have kids come and work on them,” Curry said.

Class Acts is a weekly feature highlighting students, teachers, programs and projects at Valley school districts. Email suggestions for future stories to news@dailyitem.com.

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