NORTHUMBERLAND — Two Shikellamy students with disabilities had a life-changing experience when they received adapted bikes from a children's charity.
Priestley Elementary student Tarel Wynings, 11, son of Thomas and Joan Wynings and Shikellamy Middle School student Alim Hall, grandson of Regina Sessions were recipients of adapted bikes from Variety— the Children’s Charity.
Variety – the Children’s Charity, of Pittsburgh, provides children with disabilities with unique programs, experiences, and equipment throughout 65 counties in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
"This was a long process for us but we are so thrilled to be able to get the bikes for the students," Priestley multiple disabilities teacher Bonnie Albertson said.
The Intermediate Unit and the district worked together sending Special Education Director Stephanie Michaels, and Albertson to the Schuykill County Intermediate Unit in Pottsville for a presentation in September.
From there, the district filled out the forms, and both students were able to receive the bikes. Last week the students were awarded the bikes, Michaels said.
"It was such an emotional experience," Michaels said. "We are just thrilled for the students and we hope to be able to provide more through the years."
Wynings, who has autism, said he loved the bike.
"It's great," he said. "I like it."
Thomas Wynings said he is excited for his adopted son to be able to enjoy the bike outside in the spring.
"We are all looking forward to it," he said.
Michaels said since the students were awarded the bikes the charity will now provide bigger bikes once the students outgrow the old ones. Michaels said the bikes cost about $1,500 each.
Superintendent Jason Bendle said he was also pleased to see the students receive the gifts.
"Variety provided bicycles, strollers, and IPads to students across the Vally," Bendle said. "For most, this is the first bike they have owned. The smiles and confidence students showed during the inaugural ride was amazing. Families were very thankful for the opportunities for their children to finally be able to participate in activities with other siblings in their homes."