By TIM CLEVELAND
Young people can’t be taught bike safety early enough, and Austintown Community Church was able to teach those lessons in a fun way on May 21 with its annual Bike-A-Thon.
The Bike-A-Thon also raised money for a local family needing help with medical bills.
“This started about 45 years ago,” said ACC preschool director Cindy Ellashek. “Mrs. [Beverly] Miller, who was the former director of the preschool, started it 45 years ago. We get boxes donated. Don Walters Distributing is always so gracious to donate boxes to us. The children paint them and come up with creations for our Bike-A-Thon.”
Approximately 100 preschool children at ACC participated in the Bike-A-Thon. Each class received a box and decided what they would create. The students painted and decorated the box into such things as a rain forest, fire station, bridge, a bus, an Oh Wow! museum, or gas pumps. The administration at ACC then took things from there in getting the course ready.
“We arrive early in the morning and we have a chalkier like on a baseball field,” Ellashek said. “We draw the course which has stayed the same for the 45 years. The teachers cut the boxes and each class decides what they’re going to make.”
Ellashek said that in the past police officers from Austintown and North Jackson would attend and hand out mock tickets to the students.
Two of the students who rose in the Bike-A-Thon were Brady Stovall and Nicholas Pugliese.
“It’s good,” Brady said. “I went through that tunnel and then the railroad tracks and I went in the bus and the boat.”
“We worked on the boat,” Nicholas said when asked what project his class worked on. “We painted it and put the stars on it.”
Ellashek explained some of the lessons the children could learn by participating in the Bike-A-Thon.
“It focuses on bike safety and how we need to watch out for others, we need to stop at stop signs and not run into anyone,” she said. “We talk about stop lights and traffic lights and the children make a drivers license. We talk about what’s on a drivers license and about following the rules of the road and safety.”