SkillsUSA refurbishes bikes for local children


Jocelyn Gonzales

Revamping a donation– SkillsUSA junior David Koethler and senior Benny Hildebrand work on a bicycle during fourth period auto tech class. The group’s “Give a Child a Smile” project took donations of bicycles and money to provide new and refurbished bikes to local children.

 SkillsUSA Auto Tech will deliver bicycles to needy children in the community this weekend as part of its “Give a Child a Smile” community service project for the holidays. Participating members have been refurbishing bicycles for the past month.

  The community service project involves SkillsUSA students utilizing their technical skills to refurbish bikes and raising funds to buy new bicycles to add to the collection. The project is part of a long-standing tradition in auto tech for decades. SkillsUSA sponsor Tom Spence said the program has been going on for well over 20 years. This year, however, brought new challenges to students as they attempted to contend with the limitations of a pandemic.

  SkillsUSA typically raises funds for “Give a Child a Smile” through community events such as Seminole’s Mistletoe Market. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however, the event was cancelled. This meant that SkillsUSA had to rely on less funding as it pushed toward its goal of at least 35 bicycles to donate.

 “We are getting more bike donations than money donations, so we’re planning on refurbishing more bikes than buying,” SkillsUSA junior Sarah Teichroeb said. 

  While Mistletoe Market may have been cancelled, students were still able to raise funds at the Seminole Christmas Festival, an outdoor event.

  Teichroeb said she participated because she has a desire to help those who are less fortunate. SkillsUSA junior Korbin Lambert had a similar view. 

   “At the end of the day, just the look on the kid’s faces, getting to see happy kids, me knowing I did good for someone else makes me feel good about myself,” Lambert said.

  Covid-19 may have put a roadblock in the way of these students, but that didn’t stopped them from continuing their mission. The bicycles will be presented to children around town this weekend after school lets out for holiday break.