By JOE JAROSZ
March 26, 2014
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Inner-city youth are now able to go mountain biking in style, thanks to the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.
The Police Athletic League of Kansas City recently received a grant from Epic Bike and Sport of Kansas City, Mo., that awarded the group eight new mountain bikes for its Trail Blazers mountain bike club. The PAL also partnered with the Brain Injury Association of Kansas City and the Greater Kansas City Area for free helmets for the youth in the club.
Officer Marta Hayes said the bikes received from the grant are specialized bikes with a specific suspension system to be used on the various trails available to the club. The club, which is barely a year old, received donated bikes from area Wal-Marts in 2013, but she said those broke down.
“Those bikes weren’t fit for trails,” Hayes said.
Hayes, who wrote the grant herself, said she began looking at other options in October of last year. Mark Devine, head mechanic at Epic Bike and Sport, said Hayes came to them with the grant and asked about specialized bikes. Once everything came together, Devine said one of the youth in the club even helped assemble the bikes for the club.
“If anything goes wrong on the trails, he’ll be able to help,” Devine said.
Hayes said when she realized that helmets are expensive, she reached out to the Brain Injury Association. She said the organization was willing to supply helmets for free.
“The kids needed their own helmets,” Hayes said.
On Thursday, March 20, after showing off their new bikes, members of the club went for a ride. Hayes said there are usually four kids per coach on a ride.
The Police Athletic League relies on the generosity of citizens and corporations to provide the resources to keep the City’s youth active, productive and safe. The PAL Center is supervised by Kansas City Missouri Police officers who are assigned full-time to direct activities and oversee the youth. With the help of community volunteers, officers provide the youth of Kansas City with the proper guidance, life skills, and opportunities that will give them a better chance at a successful life.