Jacksonville Heights Elementary students react to the news that they are receiving free bikes

New bikes gifted to 300 third graders across Team Duval thanks to Bikes for Kids Foundation

Dec. 6, 2023 –Third graders from four Team Duval elementary schools are taking home a new set of wheels ahead of the holidays thanks to the Bikes for Kids Foundation.

The announcement of free bikes came as a complete shock to the third graders at Jacksonville Heights, Bayview, Crown Point, and Lake Lucina elementary schools. Team Duval News was there on Tuesday to capture the surprise at Jacksonville Heights Elementary.  

“This is the best thing that children can ever experience in their lives,” said Aubrey Conyers, a third grader at the school. “We could have gotten rewarded with anything else in the world, and you guys didn’t have to do this.”

Like all the other third graders, Conyers thought that only select students would win the bikes. Part of the Bike for Kids program involved the students writing an essay about thinking big, working hard, being kind, and making no excuses. Those selected as winners, organizers told the students, would be awarded bikes.

But on Tuesday, big smiles filled the auditorium as the third graders slowly realized that all of them would be receiving their own brand new bike.

For Anthony Cadieux, seeing the reaction of the students was priceless. As Co-Founder and CEO of CoAqua NA, Inc, Cadieux leads the local Bikes for Kids effort. The national initiative was founded more than 20 years ago and has provided more than 100,000 bikes to students across the country. Watching the joyful reaction from the students never gets old, Cadieux said.

“It’s hard to just not start crying because all the work that we do as a company to try and make this happen to see the reactions of these kids,” said Cadieux. “This program teaches these kids the types of values and habits that they need, and more importantly, the mindset that they need to become successful.”

Principal Candice Glover-Bullock said not only does this program provide bikes for the students, but it teaches them life and character-building skills.

“It was such a phenomenal experience,” Glover-Bullock said. “This was just something to let our kids know that this is what you do to achieve your goals in life. We started just telling them, ‘you are a game changer, you are a winner, think big,’ and that’s when we started seeing improvement, and it come into fruition.”

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