Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Guardian ad Litem, Dawn Freijo, recently had the joy of participating in a right of passage for two children she advocates for-helping them learn how to ride a bike. Thanks to a generous donation from Outback Steakhouse and the Heart Gallery of Pinellas and Pasco Counties, two children not only received bikes but received a little piece of normalcy while learning a skill they will never forget.
Alex and Madison (names changed to protect privacy) were recently upset when their GAL and caregiver had to throw out their bikes because they were unsafe to ride due to being in great disrepair and very rusty. The children did not want to get rid of their bikes (usually because our kids are so afraid that they will not receive a replacement item and often there may be memories attached to a parent giving them the item). Dawn was very excited to learn of a donation facilitated by the Heart Gallery that would allow the children to receive new bikes before the holidays! She was so excited she even picked up and delivered the bikes the same day they became available.
Alex, the oldest child, was absolutely terrified to learn how to ride her bike. Her parents never taught her, but she desperately wanted to learn. The caregiver and the GAL convinced her to try without training wheels and she was afraid, but willing to try. They held on to her bike and wouldn’t let go until she was ready. They took turns going up and down the street. Finally, Alex gained confidence and was ready for the adults to let go. Alex’s faced beamed with pride from victory and achievement. She kept practicing until she had to come in-even after it was dark. She even learned how to kick-off by herself to start riding her bike. Alex told the GAL before she left that she was excited because now she could ride in the neighborhood with her friends.
The Guardian ad Litem is so grateful that she was able to help a child have a normal social outlet like riding her bike with friends, but also because she had the privilege of being a person who got to help a child in one of those moments a child never forgets – when they learn how to ride their bike all on their own.