16 Years of Bike Rodeo with Stratford Rotary and the South End Community Center
Kevonna Edwards was a CARE (Citizens Addressing Racial Equity) Counselor and worked in after school programs at the South End Community Center. In 2007, Kevonna who was a Bunnell student, died tragically in a car accident.
A decision was made by Tymatha (Ty) Sims, South End Community Center Program Coordinator, and Alec Voccola, who was with the police emergency service, and whose son was a friend of Kevonna, to do a Bike Safety Rodeo for summer school students that would connect with community leaders. The Bike Safety Rodeo fits Kevonna’s memory, as she loved teaching, and always stressed safety.
Stratford Rotary Club hosted the South End Community Center Bike Rodeo on Tuesday and Rotary donated bike helmets to all 35 children. The children were treated to hot dogs, chips and a beverage along with water bottles, pens and wrist bands donated by the Stratford Police PAL.
Harold Watson instructed the children on how to safely ride their bikes along with how to properly wear their new helmets. Dominic Mantuano oversaw conducting the competitive games. Stratford Rotary, who has been on board for 16 years and has given participants bike bells, bike lights, helmets, bikes, and bike locks.
Children who do not have bikes are given bikes. After 16 years the Bike Rodeo participants have grown so that they now have 35 riders.
There is 35 children in the Summer Camp program, with LITs or Leaders in Training, (youth ages 13-15 who attend Stratford High, Bunnell High and Notre Dame).
“LITs work alongside camp staff to implement, assist and support our work of building leaders. Having the LITs in the program also help us foster positive relationships between high school students. It also creates an opportunity for our campers to see young people from their neighborhood as staff and LITs working to support them in reading and math, engaging them and teaching them during the summer.” Ty Sims
“Leaders in Training” have had 24 hours of training before the program. The leaders in training help with lesson plans, field trips, and day-to-day activities. After summer camp is over they are evaluated and given a small stipend.