Virginia Wesleyan hosts autism bike camp for free

SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Here’s a special 10 On Your Side success story — a group of local kids with autism has found a place to to host their bicycle camp.

Back in April, we told you about the “I Can Shine” program, a group that gives kids with autism and other developmental disabilities the chance to ride bicycles. They were desperate to find a facility to ride in so kids in Hampton Roads could take part in the program — and we’re glad to say, after our report, they’ve found one at Virginia Wesleyan College.

Photos: I Can Shine bike program

“It’s amazing to see week-to-week their progress, each rider progressing and being able to get up on two wheels by the end of the week,” said Hannah Langdon, a floor supervisor for the program.

Langdon said about 80 percent of their riders are able to bike on two wheels by the end of the program, and the other 20 percent make huge progress.

“Last year we had hosted it at a bingo hall, which was not nearly as nice or spacious, and they went out of business and we lost that venue,” said Pam Clendenen, Executive Director of Families of Autistic Children in Tidewater. “And it was also expensive, and this venue was offered to us for free.”

Saerree Spears told the program has given her daughter, Samaria, and her entire family a great gift: “I had always wished that we would ride bikes as a family, and I didn’t think we would be able to do that. So this has given us the opportunity.”

The I Can Shine program is a national organization that utilizes local volunteers.


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