The William Floyd Bicycle Academy, a program founded by occupational therapist Ed Diaz in the summer of 2014, has since been helping make childrens’ bicycle-riding dreams a reality. Since its inception, this program has helped more than 250 people – including students with special needs, general education students and those who are medically frail – gain the necessary skills and confidence in themselves to learn how to ride without assistance. The program is supported by an army of volunteers from the William Floyd school community and beyond including students, community members, teachers, teaching assistants, psychologists, security personnel and college students, who go above and beyond to ensure that the participants are safe and having fun while learning to ride.
With learning how to ride independently being the long-term goal, many children made incremental progress along the way including learning how to balance, turn, pedal, start, stop, etc., which are all skills required to ride without assistance. “It is satisfying to witness them achieve their lifelong dream of learning how to ride a bike,” said Mr. Diaz. “From my perspective, the overwhelming emotions children and parents displays as this dream comes true is priceless.”
Mr. Diaz added, “Quite often, children begin the program with the misbelief that they will never be able to learn how to ride a bike. Yet, slowly they come to realize that – with practice, patience, and learning to stick with something and see it through – anything is possible. They learn how to overcome that obstacle they felt was impossible and that makes other challenging tasks achievable as well!”
Mr. Diaz plans to bring back the William Floyd Bicycle Academy for a seventh year next summer. All William Floyd students and parents are welcome to participate, whether as a rider or as a volunteer. Those interested are encouraged to email Mr. Diaz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr. Diaz would like to express his gratitude to all of the volunteers from the William Floyd community, as well as the Stony Brook University Occupational Therapy Program and East End Cyclery for generously donating their time with providing minor repairs and bicycle tune-ups.
Additional photos in the album below!