BRAWLEY — The Boys and Girls Club of Imperial Valley partnered up with the IV Velo Club in Brawley Friday afternoon to inaugurate the group’s first-ever bike and helmet drive.
“The Imperial Valley Velo Club contacted the Boys and Girls Club and informed them that they wanted to do a bike drive for the kids,” said Angelica Anaya, the BGC Brawley Site Unit Director, about the development of the bike-drive idea.
Established in 1987 by Romanian Olympian Dmitri Nemeteanu, the IV Velo Club is a group of cycling enthusiasts who endorse a healthy lifestyle by way of promoting bike riding as means of recreation as well as exercise.
Twenty bikes along with helmets, bike locks, reflector bracelets, and flat tire troubleshooting pamphlets were donated by the Velo Club which were dispersed throughout the two Imperial Valley Boys and Girls Club sites in Holtville and Brawley.
Rather than selecting the 10 recipients administratively, the kids at the Brawley site were able to determine the winners amongst themselves through a canned-food drive that was created in November, with the help of IV Food Bank, where each canned food or boxed good item donated was worth one raffle ticket.
“On the day of the Bike-Drive the kids who donated more items had a better chance of winning,” said Anaya. “It’s an incentive and a way of showing the kids community service and also that it’s fun to receive, but you also have to give back.”
Before the raffle commenced, the 35 children in attendance, ranging from kindergarten to middle school, were treated to a speech by Velo Club members Brian McNeece, Jesse Zermeno, and Ray Soto who stressed the themes of nutrition, exercise, and cycling safety and awareness. Five boys and five girls were given green and purple freestyle bikes along with accessories.
“We love bikes so much that we came here today to give bikes away,” announced McNeece to the kids before the drawing as they cheered in excitement.