Durham welcomes Trips for Kids

By Kendra McNair-Worley
NCCU Staff Writer
the Durham VOICE

One group of Durham youngsters won’t have to worry about suspension as a punishment for misbehaving in school; instead they’ll be riding bikes.

Happy kids on bikes. A winning combination before a ride in Little River Park, left to right, Daphine Bass, Ahkeem Cooper and Jaquita Kornegay. (Photo by Danielle Riley and courtesy of Trips for Kids-Triangle)

That’s right — riding bikes, thanks to Trips for Kids, a nonprofit group dedicated to helping high-risk juveniles stay far away from trouble and excel in school.

The international organization was founded in 1986 by avid bike rider Marilyn Price who is also the director.

Their website explains that “along with the help of hundreds of volunteers, thousands of disadvantaged kids have experienced the natural world from the seat of a mountain bike.”

Trips for Kids “allows you to reach out to the fragile kid or the at-risk kid that society deems the throw away,” said Andrea Hundredmark, public school teacher and executive director of Trips for Kids-Triangle.

The success of the original San Francisco program intrigued interest in starting similar programs.

In 1999, the organization began supporting the development of Trips for Kids chapters around the United States and around the world.

Probably the newest one is Trips for Kids-Triangle chapter, located at 506-104 N. Mangum St. in Durham.

Hundredmark sees Durham as the ideal location for the chapter.

“As far as I’m concerned Durham is the cultural nucleus of the Triangle,” said Hundredmark. “It’s not your cookie cutter neighborhood.”

For several kids “it was suspension after suspension- just a rotating door,” said Hundredmark. With the continuing suspensions not seeming to be very effective, Hundredmark decided to throw out the punishment, with permission from the parents and hit the kids where it would really hurt.

Hundredmark showed up at the two students’ houses at 7 a.m. one Saturday morning. She told the kids about the new consequences of their actions and after a few groans they were on their way.

The first ride with the two students “changed my life and theirs,” said Hundredmark. “They gained confidence from it.”

After their first bike ride the two students asked if they could do it the very next week.

“It was like hook, line, sinker,” she said.

Andrea Hundredmark poses with Trips for Kids-Triangle participants in their new Grassroots Bike shop, left to right, Ralph Byrd, Jeremy Nelson, Cassan McKoy, Andrea Hundredmark, Octavio Noel and Bryan French. (Photo by Wayne Brandon and courtesy of Trips For Kids-Triangle)

Feeling as though she was finally getting somewhere, she decided to make it official. She tweaked the program to make it work inside the school system, since she was already a teacher.

Once a month for the past two years, the TFKT students, usually ages 10-15, who have made improvements in academics, attendance, behavior, and/or healthful living are awarded with an all expense paid mountain biking outing on the Triangle’s local trail systems.
Quarterly, the TFKT kids give back to their community by volunteering for “Trail Workdays.”

Students have shown marked improvement in academics, attendance and behavior. Suspension rates and referrals have rapidly declined. Authority figures also note that their relationships with students have gotten better.

Wayne Brandon, 14, who has been a participant in Trips for Kids for about a year was not a part of any other extracurricular activities prior to becoming a member of Trips for Kids.

“In order to go on bike rides I have to behave and be on track in school,” said Brandon.

Hundredmark says that Trips for Kids- Triangle has plans to eventually expand and help more kids all over the Triangle.

The grand opening of their Trips for Kids Grassroots Bike Shop was held on Sept. 18.

Overall Trips for Kids is about “educating the whole child,” said Hundredmark.

For more information on participating in the program or becoming a volunteer, email Andrea Hundredmark at Andrea@tftk.org or check out their website at http://web.mac.com/a100mark/Site_3/Welcome.html

2 thoughts on “Durham welcomes Trips for Kids

  1. hey i miss you guys very much them are the greatest times i have had in my hole life i would love to see you all again

  2. I looked up my name on google and this popped up and my picture with us rideing the bike I almost cryed I just want you guys to no I never forgot you and I miss you all very much I love brogden and always have I miss softball there but I’m doing good here playing softball at willams high school grades are wonderful I live in Burlington n.c very nice place well when ever you get a chance please contact me at 9199514751

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