Yamaha partnership helps put school kids on wheels
BY H. M. CAULEY – FOR THE AJC COBB MARIETTA
Yamaha believes even kids should be on two-wheelers, said Steve Nessl, marketing manager at Yamaha Motor Corp. The company, whose national headquarters for motorsports is in Marietta, has partnered for a few years with the South Dakota based All Kids Bike nonprofit to get youngsters to master the skill of riding. Its financial contributions recently funded new bicycles and helmets for kindergartners at Hapeville’s Cleveland Avenue Elementary.
“We do it because it expands the students’ reach and helps us promote a program to get kids outside, on two wheels, maybe away from the screens,” said Nessl. “All Kids Bike is a great program that’s like-minded for us.”
The staff at Yamaha’s Newnan plant builds the bikes that go to schools without the resources to pay for them.
Under the program, the schools receive 14-inch bikes and helmets ideal for novice riders. Teachers get an instructor bike and a curriculum guide to teach balance, steering and safety.
“We’ve been figuring out how to get more kids on bikes since 2017,” said the nonprofit’s Executive Director Lisa Weyer. “The bikes belong to the schools, and they have a lifespan of 7 to 10 years. So we’re not only teaching one or two years of kids but the next 10 generations as well.”\
Yamaha has helped find locations to make those donations since 2021 and has gradually increased its financial support, said Weyer. “In 2021, they gave us $30,000, then in 2022, it was $60,000,” she said.
“For 2023, they plan on doubling that. Our relationship is building, and we really value that.”
For Yamaha, the benefit is intangible, said Nessl. “The welcome we receive from the faculty and students is almost humbling and supremely rewarding,” he said. “It’s great to help a program that supports people’s ability to get outside and recreate.”
Information is online at allkidsbike.org.