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Governor Sanders helps a student put a bike helmet on.

Arkansas Kindergarteners on a Roll: Governor Sanders Unveils a Collaborative Investment to Promote Children’s Health through All Kids Bike Program

[Searcy, AR – April 29, 2024]: All Kids Bike, the national nonprofit teaching kindergarten students how to ride bikes in PE class, is activating their All Kids Bike Learn-to-Ride Kindergarten PE Program in Arkansas. The initiative kicked off with a bike reveal event at Sidney Deener Elementary School, thanks to the generosity of several donors and a state-backed grant through the Department of Education.

The comprehensive program includes teacher training and certification, a fleet of 24 bikes, pedal conversion kits, helmets, an instructional bike for teachers, two rolling storage racks, and access to a resource portal with live support for the duration of the program. Governor Sanders and Sidney Deener Elementary School leadership celebrated the introduction of the program with a kickoff event alongside representatives from BNSF Railway Foundation, Walmart Inc., the Walton Family Foundation, Trailblazers and All Kids Bike attendees.

“It was really fun to get to be part of this event and watch the kids’ faces as the team was able to announce that we were donating bikes in partnership with BNSF, Walmart, All Kids Bike, and Trailblazers, as well as the State of Arkansas and the local school,” said Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “We will get to see thousands of kids across Arkansas learn how to ride a bike and encourage them to get outside and do so safely. We’re so excited about this program and seeing more and more kids getting outdoors.”

A collaboration of partners including an Outdoor Recreation Grant from the Arkansas Department of Education, BNSF Railway Foundation, Walmart Inc., the Walton Family Foundation, and Trailblazers have provided $108,000 in funding to gift the All Kids Bike Learn-to-Ride Kindergarten PE Program to twelve (12) elementary schools in Arkansas.

“The BNSF Railway Foundation is proud to partner with the Strider Education Foundation and the State of Arkansas in the All Kinds Bike program,” said Michael Garriga, BNSF executive director of public affairs. “Having access to a bicycle is a rite of passage for young students and provides so many benefits to help them grow into active, healthy adults. We want to especially thank Governor Sanders for her advocacy and commitment to this worthy cause, which is no doubt making a positive impact on so many lives.”

“Walmart is proud to sponsor All Kids Bike’s innovative Learn-to-Ride Kindergarten PE Program,” said Michael Lindsey, Walmart Director of Government Affairs. “We believe that teaching kids to ride bikes is not just about physical education, but also about instilling a lifelong love for outdoor activities. By supporting this initiative, we are contributing to a healthier and happier future for children in Arkansas.”

The All Kids Bike Learn-to-Ride Kindergarten PE Program is currently active in over 100 elementary schools in Arkansas teaching over 10,000 kids how to ride annually. At Sidney Deener Elementary School, this program will positively impact approximately 100 kindergarten students each year. With a lifespan of 7-10 years for the equipment, it is estimated that up to 1,000 students will benefit from this initiative over the 10-year program lifespan.

Principal Jeff Graham of Sidney Deener Elementary believes this program will support the physical education goals of their school. “Sidney Deener is excited to participate in this program. Unfortunately, not all children have the opportunity to learn to ride a bicycle, many times because of lack of access to a bike or an adult that takes the time to teach them. This program will allow our P.E. Teacher, Coach Brooker, to give our students access to this opportunity. Riding a bicycle for our students is going to create a sense of confidence and accomplishment for many students. Because of funding from state initiatives and private donors, our school will now have access to this opportunity. We look forward to the fun, joy, and developmental skills this project will provide for our students. At Sidney Deener we are always looking for ways to bridge gaps and provide for students who may not have opportunities to learn skills such as riding a bike. We are proud to say this is one more way we can help our students and families.”

The State of Arkansas Department of Education, BNSF Railway Foundation, Walmart Inc., the Walton Family Foundation and Trailblazers and All Kids Bike are committed to enriching the lives of young learners and cultivating valuable skills through the joy of bike riding. This collaborative effort exemplifies their dedication to building healthier, happier communities, one pedal at a time.