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Lahaina Intermediate School awarded grant to launch school-based cycling program 

By Staff | Jun 25, 2020

Health and Physical Education teacher Donell Thomas is excited to start a cycling program at Lahaina Intermediate School. 

LAHAINA – Lahaina Intermediate School has been selected to receive a 2020 Riding for Focus Grant from Outride and launch a school-based cycling program during the 2020-2021 school year.

Health and Physical Education (PE) teacher Donell Thomas applied for the grant for the PE class at Lahaina Intermediate.

LIS will receive a class set of bikes and helmets as well as staff training for the Riding for Focus curriculum – a school-based program that uses cycling as a tool for students to achieve academic, health and social success.

Thomas learned about the grant program while looking for information on bicycles and applied earlier this year.

“I was so excited about LIS being awarded the grant, because it is such a great opportunity for our students,” Thomas said.

“Mountain bike riding is such a great way to teach about physical education and health, because many kids ride bikes. It is good for exercise as well as transportation and environmentally friendly. There are so many opportunities on Maui for bike riding. We are also excited to have students learn more about bicycle safety and taking care of equipment.”

LIS requested 25 bicycles for the program. The campus is spacious enough to set up courses.

The PE staff will develop a bicycle course for the principal’s approval.

Cycling will be added to the Physical Education curriculum, adhering to Outride and state Department of Education PE standards.

Thomas thinks it’s a great fit: “These students have so much energy, and giving them the ability to use that energy in a way that will keep them healthy and help them achieve in school and in life is such a great opportunity.”

Outride is a public nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of youth through cycling.

Through its Primary Research, Riding for Focus cycling program and Outride Fund grant giving activities, the organization provides evidence-based cycling interventions to improve social, emotional and cognitive health.

Over the past five years, Outride has provided 185 middle schools across the U.S. and Canada with everything they need to get their sixth- to eighth-grade students riding, including bikes, helmets, starter maintenance equipment, cycling curriculum and teacher training.

Outride has also awarded 43 Outride Fund matching grants supporting local cycling communities through education, trail building and rider development.

Between the Riding for Focus program and the Outride Fund, Outride is committing $1.4 million to youth cycling initiatives in 2020.

“We could not be more excited about this opportunity to get more kids on bikes and bring a cycling program to our Physical Education classes,” Thomas concluded.

For more information, visit outridebike.org.