Ashley Feldman is continuing a program for underprivileged children that she started with her two older sisters eight years ago. A sophomore in high school, Ashley has taken over the "Bikes for Tykes" program and is busy with the task of collecting, cleaning and refurbishing used bikes for donation to needy children. Ashley finds time in her busy schedule of extracurricular activities to keep in touch with the community and give something back to those in need.
A young woman who knows firsthand the joy of receiving her first bicycle, Ashley works hard to make sure that other children have the same experience. Over the eight years the program has been in operation, Ashley and her sisters, Courtney and Barrett, have fixed nearly 200 bikes. The girls have held drives to collect used bikes from community members. Most are in decent shape but some require repair, all of which is completed by Ashley now that her sisters are in college.
"Bikes for Tykes" fills the need of supplying bikes to children who would otherwise not be able to have a bike of their own. Ashley works closely with local agencies to make sure that the bicycles go to the homes of deserving children. She has donated bikes to organizations such as Volunteers of America, Jewish Family Services, the United Way and The Domestic Violence Center.
Since "Bikes for Tykes" has been under Ashley's sole leadership, the program has evolved significantly from its original operating strategy. She advanced the organization from a door to door soliciting operation, to a large-scale program that relies on the community's response to newspaper press releases and word of mouth. Ashley has also organized a bicycle drive, from which she received over 100 donations. She has also expanded the "Bikes for Tykes" workforce to include students from her school and from other local school districts. Recently, Ashley was granted the use of a municipal facility to store and refurbish the bicycles.
In settings where there households or group homes with multiple children, Ashley attempts to provide all of the children with their own bicycle in order to maintain the vision of “Bikes for Tykes”—that children benefit socially and emotionally from the ownership of a bicycle. Also, the bicycles provide an opportunity for increased physical exercise to improve the overall health of the children. Ashley's work with "Bikes for Tykes" is commendable and she plans to continue the program indefinitely.