It was 9:45 on a Monday morning. Cathy Persinger, Basin Electric travel coordinator, grabbed her keys, slipped on her running shoes and turned off the light in her office at Basin Electric Headquarters. She got into her car and drove to the VFW Sports Arena. She was taking time out of her work week to volunteer for an experience she knew would be rewarding.
When Persinger arrived, the VFW Sports Arena was filled with eager kids and a lot of bikes. Faith Richards, a 10 year old camper, got onto her bike and took off with Persinger running alongside.
“I love working with kids and I love seeing smiles on their faces. They just give me joy. Riding bike is something they can do for the rest of their lives with their family or even just do individual riding. It gives them a sense of independence,” Persinger says.
Last week Persinger was one of eleven Basin Electric employees who had the opportunity to be a spotter for the “Lose the Training Wheels” camp designed to help kids with disabilities learn how to ride a bike. The camp was brought to Bismarck for the first time by a Down syndrome support network called Designer Genes North Dakota.
The “Lose the Training Wheels” program provides specially designed bikes that are retro-fitted with rollers in the back which provide a lot of stability. As the riders become more proficient, they graduate rollers and work their way up to riding a two-wheeler bike.
The camp has an 80 percent success rate. Designer Genes hopes that with a little bit more time and practice all 32 campers that participated will be riders in the community.
Watch the video featuring Cathy Persinger and Heather Lundeen of Designer Genes North Dakota.