Founded in 1987, in Naples, FL, Bikes for Tykes® was developed from the simple idea that any child with a bicycle on their Christmas wish list should receive that all empowering and memorable gift, even if their family cannot afford one. The first child to have his Christmas wish granted was Joshua, age 6. His name was on a paper angel at a local restaurant that was trying to help some local, underprivileged children have a Christmas they would not otherwise have. Joshua received his reconditioned bike and thus the Bikes for Tykes, Inc. program was born. Since then, close to 19,000 children in the Naples area has received a bright and shiny reconditioned bicycle.
History of Bikes for Tykes
Family life today differs greatly from when most of us were children. Most of us remember when it was not necessary that both parents work to make ends meet. Our fathers worked and our mothers were home taking care of the children. Children back then felt the love and security of the family unit.
Unfortunately, more than half of today’s marriages end in divorce and the children exist in a household of only one parent and one income. The end result is that the children suffer. Why?–because the family must use the money that does exist on basic necessities such as food and shelter.
Christmas is that time of the year when the weakened financial condition of the family is felt the most. Many children in our communities will have no Christmas at all —NONE!!!
In 1987, an organization was founded in Naples, Florida. The total objective of this organization is to give the underprivileged children of Naples -children who would have nothing – a Christmas present for this most important of all holidays.
Please, think for a moment of the most impacting present you received as a child.. It was probably a BIKE!. With this wonderful device your world suddenly became larger. It was now possible not only to visit a friend down the block but you could also go to other neighborhoods or even as far as across town! It also made for you the opportunity to have a job or a paper route for the extra money to buy those childhood necessities – like baseball cards, bubble gum, and Barbie doll clothes. But today, in all too many cases, this money must go towards puffing food on the table or to help with family bills.
Thus, BIKES FOR TYKES had it’s conception. The first child was Joshua, age 6. His name was on a “paper angel” at a local restaurant that was trying to help some local, underprivileged children have a Christmas they would not otherwise have. Joshua received his reconditioned bike and the BIKES FOR TYKES program was born. Since then, close to 18,000 children have received a bright and shiny reconditioned bicycle.
Every community has a surplus of old bikes discarded every day. These can very easily be revitalized and put back into our neighborhoods.
At BIKES FOR TYKES, INC., in Naples, Florida, we sand away the old paint; then primer and repaint the bikes with the current popular colors. We strip the rust from old wheels, replace the old worn tires, pedals, grips and anything else which will make the bike safe and new looking again.
BIKES FOR TYKES has become one of the truest forms of “recycling.”
With a number of years of trial and error under out belts, we can help you and/or your organization “recycle” these old, rusted and discarded bikes into a bike any youngster would love to have for an average of $28.00 per bike. We can help you to do the restoration correctly, so the bicycle will not only be attractive but safe as well. We can also help you with ways to obtain the raw bikes from sources in your community and to buy parts at the lowest possible prices, far below the discount store prices (i.e., tires that sell for $8.00 in stores for as low as $3.00.)
O.K, you have had the pitch – now for the “hook.”
The answer is NOTHING!
Nothing but the desire to make some less fortunate child extremely happy. If you have that desire in your club or organization to undertake a project such as this, we will work with you and share information about where and how to get your raw bikes, help you to order parts at the lowest prices available, as well as a listing of tools and equipment we have found useful.
Soon you, too, will be working with Santa making a difference where you live. Bikes for Tykes, Inc. will be glad to aid you in transforming rusted, useless and forgotten bicycles into a twinkle in a young child’s eye, and a very warm feeling in your heart.
In Special Memory:
Bikes for Tykes recognizes that every program, after a few years, has those very special volunteers that give of themselves to make our communities a little better.
Upon the passing away of one of these special people, it is a loss to all.
Robert G. Faist, April 22, 1922 to July 14, 2005, Naples, FL.
Mr. Dave Fulkerson, Feb. 17, 1927 to Aug. 28, 1996, Naples, Fla.
Mr. Bill Wise, May 24, 1918 to Aug. 31, 1997, Naples, Fla.
Erik Nosera, July 20, 1982 to Nov. 29, 1997, Naples, Fla.
Sandra L. Tomlinson, Nov. 6, 1955 to June 25, 1995, Fort Worth, Tx
Send me the names, what town they were from, dates of birth, and dates of loss. Your program name is optional. I’ll list them here to remind all of their love and desire to help their community !