KINGSTON TWP. — After doing several laps around the parking lot outside of Small Wonders Day Care, Bella Fuhr, 5, and Aaron Kostelnik, 4, took a break and parked their bikes near a water station for a drink and a popsicle.
“I rode around four times,” Kostelnik said. “No crashes.”
The duo was among 50 children who participated in Small Wonders Day Care’s 18th annual Trike-A-Thon Monday, May 9. The event is a fundraiser benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, said Linda Somoga, executive director at Small Wonders.
The center’s 3- to 6-year-olds enjoyed showing off their bikes and trikes plus their personal style by wearing bicycle helmets that included My Little Pony, a Stegosaurus and Ninja Turtle designs. The children’s parents had to complete a sponsor sheet and bring in their son’s or daughter’s bicycle and helmet.
“He (Aaron) was so excited for today,” Kim Kostelnik, Aaron’s mother, said. “He could not wait.”
Fuhr pedaled her way around five times and was proud that her bike has a seat on the back for her baby doll.
At the end of Monday, the child care facility collected $1,350 in sponsorship dollars for the hospital.
“Families have until the end of the week to turn in their pledges,” Somoga said. “To date, Small Wonders Day Care raised $27,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Somoga uses the event as a teaching tool to help the center’s children understand the importance of helping others who are sick.
“Children should not have to live with cancer,” she said.
The charity is near to the administrator’s heart when a child she knew was diagnosis with the disease years ago. Since then, the lessons through St. Jude’s Trike-A-Thon were incorporated into the center’s curriculum.
“We explained (to the children) how St. Jude’s children are different from them when they get sick,” said Lynn Jumper, a pre-kindergarten teacher at Small Wonders Day Care.
“The kindergarten students are more inquisitive and understand more and want to help,” Somoga said.
The pre-school children also grasped the lesson so well that when a bunch of multi-colored balloons tied to a chair for the outdoor event broke free, 5-year-old Jeffrey Dickson yelled out, “Go to St. Jude’s!”
The youngsters also learned bicycle safety through the Trike-A-Thon program.
Children received a small coloring book emphasizing the following safety lessons:
• always wear a bike helmet,
• never ride a bike or trike in the street,
• be careful riding near driveways, and
• always watch where you are riding.
Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews.