As a young child with special needs, Kiarri Kilgallon rode a tricycle just fine, but by the time other kids her age transitioned to a traditional bicycle, her mom realized it wouldn’t come easy for Kiarri.
“And it broke my heart and you see all the kids out riding their bike and that's what you want for your kid," Kiarri’s mother, Dawn Kilgallon, told NBC 7.
Kilgallon soon found help with “I Can Bike,” a week-long camp hosted annually by the non-profit organization, Crimson Treatment and Research Center.
The camp, held at Alliant University in Scripps Ranch, is designed to help children with developmental disabilities learn to ride two-wheel bicycles independently. Each year, 40 local kids join the program and are guided by instructors.
The kids are given the opportunity to user a fleet of specialized bicycles, including bikes that use rollers on the backs to teach balance.
Organizers estimate the program helps 80 percent of enrolled kids ride without any assistance by the end of the five days.
“Boy, the first time she was riding on her own, it was smiles and confidence and it was what I wanted for her,” Kilgallon recalled.
This year’s I Can Bike camp will be held May 9 through May 13. Already, 40 kids have signed up for the camp, with more on a waiting list.
However, organizers say they’ve hit a speed bump: they don’t have enough volunteers, at this point, to support a full schedule of sessions.
“It is a program run Monday through Friday, so we understand lots of people are working but each child needs two spotters, which are volunteer runners that go along with the kids,” Kilgallon explained.
She joined the board of directors for the program herself after seeing her daughter’s success.
Volunteers don’t have to be there for the entire camp and can sign up for sessions that fit their schedules. Anyone interested in volunteering can find more information on the Crimson Treatment and Research Center’s website, or on this website.