In the bicycle section of Walmart, children were filled with joy as they tested out their new set of wheels.
The Kiwanis Club of Clinton awarded students Wednesday for its Terrific Kids program, which promotes character development, self-esteem and perseverance.
“Getting a new bike was also excited for me when I was a kid, so I’m glad that we can help do this,” said Brett Jones, president of the local club.
Bikes are distributed to one child from each elementary school in Sampson County. Fourteen bikes are donated and the total cost is $1,400. “Terrific” is an acronym for Thoughtful, Enthusiastic, Respectful, Responsible, Inclusive, Friendly, Inclusive and Capable. Teachers throughout Sampson County set goals to improve behavior, relationships with peers, attendance and academic work. Students with these behaviors are selected as Terrific Kids by their teachers. Later, a drawing system is used for students to receive a bike.
“It’s great to honor kids at the end of the school year and going into the summer,” said Kiwanis member Jeana Carr.
Jeannie Horrell believes it’s a wonderful program. She’s the grandparent of Kendall Horrell, a Terrific Kid recipient from Union Elementary School.
“I think it’s encouraging to them,” Jeannie said. “I know they’re excited about getting a free bike.”
Marquis Johnson of Roseboro Elementary School was another excited student in the program. His mother, Marquita Johnson witnessed that excitement when he got the news.
“He came home and jumped off the bus saying ‘momma I won,’” Marquita said. “I’m glad for him. I’m very proud of him.”
Ronnie Monroe, Walmart employee, assisted Kiwanis members and parents with finding the right bike based on height. Seats adjustments were made before the bikes left the store. It’s something he does throughout the year.
“I love doing this and I enjoy taking my time to explain everything to the kids to make sure they’re safe,” Monroe said.
Kiwanis member Genny Thompson helped with helmet selections. She said said it fun watching the students receive their bikes.
“They’re learning that if I work hard, there’s rewards for working hard,” she said. “That’s always a plus.”
Daniel Ruggles, who is a Clinton City Councilman, felt the same way as a member of the organization.
“I enjoy seeing the smiles on kid’s faces and they’re getting awarded for the work they’ve done in school,” Ruggles said.
Founded in 1915, Kiwanis has chapters throughout the world and provides assistance in many ways. Members are involved in service efforts and raise millions of dollars each year for communities, families and projects. Some of them include The Eliminate Project to save millions of mothers and babies from maternal/neonatal tetanus. Another is the Worldwide Service Project to stop iodine deficiency disorders.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.