FRANKLIN PARK, NJ - Students, teachers, and staff gathered at the Franklin Park School auditorium to show support during a special event made possible by Bikes for Kids in America, a not-for-profit organization "dedicated to helping children feel the joy and freedom of riding their own bike," last Friday, Oct. 13. 

"The event was simply wonderful," Madlen Rizkalla, Franklin Park School (FPS), teacher said. "The administration did an awesome job keeping this whole thing a surprise. I was in total disbelief when the kids were surprised with the generosity from Bikes for Kids in America and Samsung. I could not hold back the tears when seeing the excitement on the students’ faces."

Enrico DeLuca, president and founder of Bikes for Kids in America along with co-workers from Samsung came from New York City to present 12 bikes, for unsuspecting students, who won the honor by being selected randomly via a golden ticket, through the school's Positive Behavior Support Program (PBIS), earlier in the school year. 

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DeLuca shared a story with attendees, of how he was given a bike by a neighbor as a child, and how that act of kindness motivated him to one day return the favor. 

"Since we started, we have given away close to 1,800 bikes in seven states," DeLuca said. "It's about paying it forward and giving back."

"In first grade, we are learning about how members of a community can work together to make the community better," Sue Kelly, FPS teacher said. "This event was a perfect example of how members of Samsung and Bikes for Kids in America are working together to support our community and give back in order to help others.  Thank you, Samsung and Bikes for Kids for making so many kids smile."

The lucky children weren't the only students to receive a gift from Bikes for Kids in America, the more than 200 children attending the event also received either a t-shirt, frisbee or notebook, and pen. The teachers of the student receiving bikes also received a t-shirt. 

Everyone in attendance also had the opportunity to see a special guest, the school mascot, Buzzter, played by Courtney Collins, FPS teacher, who filled in for Jennifer Kurre, an FPS teacher.  

"It is our hope that our students appreciate the tremendous gift they received and continue to do their best at FPS to strive for excellence in their actions towards others and academically through their school work," Nikki Tatum, FPS Vice Principal said. "Samsung and Mr. DeLuca were very gracious and we appreciate that they chose our school to partner with. Hopefully, they will be back in the spring where we can repeat this event and supply more students in need with a brand new bike, helmet, and bike lock."

There were some students, from the Pre-K class who were not present to pick up their bikes, because of a class trip, but they had the opportunity to pick them up earlier this week. 

Tatum helped coordinate the event, through collaboration with Dorothy Eason a former vice principal of the Paterson School District, who Tatum mentored many years ago. Eason contacted Debra Osman, a dean at Franklin Middle School (FMS) who attended Deluca's annual Bowling Night Fundraiser in Staten Island, in June 2016. 

This June, Tatum along with Katherine Young, Quiyon Peters, Karen Adams, Holly-Harris Vadell, and Elizabeth Sanabria teachers and staff from FMS, and the PBIS team attended the fundraiser. Tatum is hoping to bring more members from the district to the fundraiser next year.  

TAPinto Franklin Township is independently owned and operated by  Malik A. Lyons FHS Class of 93’ Graduate. 

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