Members of the London Correctional Institution (LoCI) made a trip to the Madison County Department of Job and Family Services (DJFS) on Tuesday to drop off a load of bicycles. This is the second year for the LoCI’s involvement with the donations.
The bicycles were assembled by inmates at LoCI and done in partnership with the Bike Lady, Inc., a nonprofit organization formed in 2008 to “enrich the daily life experience and expand opportunities of Ohio at-risk youth by providing new bikes, helmets and locks to children who have a history of abuse, neglect and abandonment, and are served by county child protective services (foster care placement).”
The organization also partners with corrections facilities across the state as a way to give inmates and offenders an opportunity to give back.
“We feel fortunate to be asked to partner with the Bike Lady,” said Warden Norman Robinson. “Providing the bikes to foster children across the State of Ohio is what the Christmas season is all about.”
LoCI delivered 16 of the 75 bikes assembled by inmates to DJFS, ranging from models for young children including training wheels to teenagers and adult-sized models for both boys and girls.
“This would brighten up any kid’s day,” said one of the LoCI inmates who worked to get the bikes together. “We got them all together in two days and about 10 hours to do them.” All inmates participating in the build echoed the satisfaction of being able to give back.
Some of the inmates had relatives in foster care and talked about the joy it brought to them to be able to make a child’s Christmas a little better.
“It gives you a good feeling and the kids get to have something big for Christmas,” another inmate said.
LoCI’s involvement with this year’s donations helped the Bike Lady to set a record for the organization. In 2008, the Bike Lady provided 125 kids in one county with new bikes and this year, the numbers grew to 1,700 kids in 43 counties with 10 prisons across the state participating in the assembling.
“Now the case workers choose foster kids who are in need of a bike,” said Diana Frey of DJFS. “We get them together and drop them off at the houses.” The Bike Lady has worked with DJFS for more than four years and with the feedback she receives from the recipients, she is able to drum up support for the next year.
“We get great stories from people which all go right back to the Bike Lady,” Frey said. “The feedback helps to keep it all going.”
Reach Michael Williamson at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619.