Several weeks ago, we were contacted by three seniors at GAMP (Girard Academic Music Program), a magnet school in South Philly. For their senior service project, they wanted to teach bicycle safety to their school's youngest students (5th grade). Needless to say, we were all about that.
We (Diana Owens Steif and Steve Taylor) met the three seniors, Jose, Santino, and Jeremy, at the Guerin Rec Center on Saturday, January 7th. For two hours on that spring-like day, we led the three seniors through a workshop derived from our urban riding materials and the same training we provide Philadelphia educators through Safe Routes Philly. A reporter from Citizen Philly was also on hand, and she wrote up an article about the day.
|Steve and Diana with three GAMP seniors boning up on bicycle safety|
The two hours Diana and Steve spent on this workshop will pay off double. We armed three seniors with a knowledge base and lesson outline to in turn teach a younger generation of students how to have fun, and be safe, on a bicycle. And we also educated three active Philly cyclists about rules of the road and how to be safe on Philly streets. Two hours, dozens of Philly cyclists impacted. If we were an army, the force multiplication of our lesson plans would cause clamor in the war room.
Anyhow. Our trio of GAMP seniors (plus a fourth senior who did not attend our workshop) put our training into effect on Tuesday, January 24th, when they taught bicycle safety to two classes of GAMP 5th graders. Between 50 and 60 students received the lesson, and the seniors did a great job. The fifth graders were engaged and involved, learning the importance of wearing a helmet, how to make sure their bicycle is in good shape, and the basics of riding safely in the city.
|The classic "this raw egg is your brain without a helmet" demonstration|
|Bicycles are fun to look at, which makes telling children how they work much easier|
Bicycling is a joyful activity and a transportation option which improves Philadelphia's quality of life. We aren't the only ones who think so.