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2009.03.31 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@unomaha.edu

Bicycling Focus of New Omaha Program

Omaha - The Paint-a-Bike, Earn-a-Bike program hosted by the Omaha Metro Bike Blast is now underway for children in the metro area. The effort is a collaborative venture of community volunteers, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Service Learning Academy, Metropolitan Community College (MCC) Service Learning, and the Community Bike Shop in Omaha.

About 35 children between the ages of 10 and 14 have the opportunity to paint bicycles at two locations: Bancroft Market at 10th and Bancroft Streets, and the First Congregational Church gym at 36th and Harney Streets. The children were recruited from Girls, Inc., Camp Fire USA: Midland Council, and from other community organizations and the community at large. Besides painting the bikes that were donated by Boys Town and repaired by volunteers, the children will be given bike helmets they will decorate with vinyl stickers.

The program's goals are to build social capital, encourage physical activity and become more environmentally friendly by using non-polluting transportation.

The Bancroft painting site began March 28 and will continue through April 18. Bike painting continues Saturday, April 4, and will conclude on Saturday, April 25, with a safety lesson at the midtown church site.

The children will participate, with their newly painted bikes and decorated helmets, in the Cinco de Mayo parade in South Omaha on Saturday, May 2. At that time the ownership of the bikes will be turned over to the children. Small grants from the UNO Service Learning Academy, MCC Service Learning and the South Omaha Historical Project have provided the funding for this aspect of the Metro Omaha Bike Blast.

A second arm of the Bike Blast will premiere Friday, May 1, at the Hot Shops Art Center, 1301 Nicholas St., from 5 to 8 p.m. The public will have the opportunity to meet the artists who have designed artistic bike racks for which sponsorships are being solicited. Sponsorships are another chance to support a greener and healthier community by encouraging bike riding and public art.

For more information, contact David E. Corbin, UNO Health Education professor, at dcorbin@unomaha.edu or (402) 554-3237 (office) or (402) 690-9137 (cell); or contact Eddith Buis at (402) 930-0029 or ebuis@cox.net.

* *

UNO is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The celebration recognizes the partnership among the City of Omaha, its citizens and UNO to build a vibrant and dynamic community. The centennial theme is “UNO: Central To Our City Since 1908.” This theme acknowledges the past contributions of UNO to the community and sets the stage for great things to come.

UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908. For Centennial information, go to http://www.unomaha.edu/100/.

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