YMCA hands out bikes to Canadian newcomers in Halifax for instant independence

·1 min read
Volunteers from the Ecology Action Centre and Welcoming Wheels trained the families on road and bike safety. (Anam Khan/CBC - image credit)
Volunteers from the Ecology Action Centre and Welcoming Wheels trained the families on road and bike safety. (Anam Khan/CBC - image credit)

Many Canadian newcomers in Halifax beamed Saturday as they were treated to their own bikes, helmets and a course on how to be safe on the roads in Nova Scotia.

It was the first bike in Canada for many adults. But, for many children, it was the first bike they could call their own.

The YMCA Centre for Immigrant Programs initiated the program with support from the province. Bike Again!, a local volunteer-run bike shop, supplied the refurbished bikes.

The goal was to help newcomers enjoy their community, do activities together and have more independence.

Anam Khan/CBC
Anam Khan/CBC

"A lot of newcomers when they first arrive, they don't have cars, but if they have a bike they can hop on … and go to a local grocery store," said the YMCA centre's Tim Keenan, who organized the event.

Volunteers from the Ecology Action Centre and Welcoming Wheels distributed bikes to 20 children and 10 adults. They provided safety training along with tips on how to maintain and repair their bikes.

"I like to ride to make me happy," nine-year-old Young Israel Izere said while seated on his new bike. He was also eager to learn and answer questions during the training.

Anam Khan/CBC
Anam Khan/CBC
Anam Khan/CBC
Anam Khan/CBC

Izere said he can use his bike to ride around his neighborhood and also help his mother with groceries.

"When I go home I'm going to go to the park next to my house," Rayan Issa, a young girl, said with a smile.

Anam Khan/CBC
Anam Khan/CBC

Nasra Gele, an interpreter at the event, said the parents were happy with the initiative.

A second event is already being discussed.

"This has up to this point been a huge success so we're definitely looking to do it again in the future," said Keenan.

MORE TOP STORIES

 

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting