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'I Can Bike' program held in Lackawanna County

The program helps children with special needs learn how to ride a bicycle.

MOSCOW, Pa. — A helmet and a hug from his helper Anthony is all Jake Hart needs to get going on his custom training bicycle.

Jake is one of forty riders from northeastern PA who signed up for "I Can Bike."

The week-long program sponsored by My Center for Independent Living (My CIL) was held at North Pocono Middle School in Moscow teaches children with special needs how to ride a bicycle.

"It lets them be a kid and lets them do things that normal typical kids are just able to pick up and do where our kids just need that little extra push," said Lorie Jumper, Abilities 21 volunteer.

Lorie Jumper is one of the Volunteers with Abilities 21, a group that helps families with children who have special needs.

Her son was involved in the first "I Can Bike" event last year.

"He is so much more confident. A lot of people, unfortunately, because of his cerebral palsy and stuff, a lot of people pick on him. Now with him being back, he's just more confident. He's going through this gym, making them sweat," said Jumper.

The riders start off the week on training bikes, and as the week goes on, their confidence grows, and so does their skill level.

"Steering, balance, peddling that you would typically learn, we just use a different system on our bikes," said Emma Addison, "I Can Shine" Floor Manager.

Emma Addison is with I Can Shine. The nationwide non-profit supplies the unique training bikes the children are riding. 

Each one is adjustable so that as the week goes on, the difficulty level can be increased as the kids get more comfortable and can eventually ride the bikes they have at home.

"We see a lot of kids come in with parents who honestly don't believe that their kid can ride, and by the end of the week, they are up and riding on two wheels," said Addison.

While the "I Can Bike" program is all about learning how to ride a bike, for some of the kids, it means so much more.

"And one of my riders a couple of weeks ago, he was riding around, and he yelled to dad, this is freedom," said Addison.

The program runs through the rest of the week.

Registration for next year's "I Can Bike" at North Pocono Middle School is now open. To register or volunteer, head to their website by clicking here.

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