Through Believe It Foundation’s strategic partnerships with the YMCA of Greater San Antonio and SWellcycle San Antonio, the Foundation launched Believe It Bikes in the Fall of 2017, giving physically-challenged children access to adaptive bikes in the public space throughout the city. Through the launch of this program, Believe It began to see the overwhelming need for an adaptive bike program within our schools as well.
Harlandale Independent School District has welcomed this innovative program with open arms inviting us to their symposiums to show what is next for inclusion and joining us in partnership to develop a school model for adaptive bikes. In the spring of 2018, Believe It purchased two adaptive bikes for Harlandale to be used as a pilot program. The bikes are transported between campuses and used during recess time, bike rodeos, cultural arts parade and during PE as an addition to the curriculum. The Partners in PE buddies come alongside and coach students with special needs in the Physical Education setting while special needs students are able to ride bikes together gaining social experiences from each other while working as a team. Believe It Foundation’s goal is to raise funds necessary to bring 13 more bikes, one for each of their campuses (8 Elementary Schools, 4 Middle Schools and 2 High Schools) and to place bike lockers within the community where the bikes could be stored during the weekend for neighborhood bike riding.
In the Fall of 2018, Believe It Foundation and Kinetic Kids hosted a community bike day for more than 400 Harlandale ISD students with differing abilities and their Partners in PE buddies. The students participated in an adaptive bike rodeo, and tried out and learned about numerous adaptive sports available to the Harlandale community. The Foundation intends to use Harlandale ISD as a school model of using bikes as bridges to inclusion. The Believe It Foundation hopes to eventually use this model to place adaptive bikes in every school district in Bexar County.
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After proven success with the Believe It Bikes adaptive bike program in Harlandale ISD, Believe It Foundation (BIF) is expanding its adaptive bike model into other school districts in San Antonio with the potential to impact the 36,000 students in Special Education programs throughout Bexar County. Following the success of the Harlandale pilot program, Edgewood ISD and East Central ISD reached out to BIF. In partnership with these school districts, together we will implement an adaptive bike program to improve the health and wellness of physically-challenged students using adaptive bikes as bridges to inclusion with their typically-developing peers. As part of the program, we will help the districts to establish Partners in PE, which is an elected, mentorship class—that originated in Harlandale ISD—that allows general education students to come alongside students with special needs in the PE setting, helping to further promote the inclusion of these students and foster relationships beyond the classroom.