Mathew Giroux Hietanen gave a little of his time over the past few months, and as a result, he'll be spending more time riding a brand new mountain bike this summer.
He was one of 35 local youth who took part in Tim Hortons Earn-A-Bike program. The participants, who were between 10 and 14 years old, were selected by the Greater Sudbury Police Service (GSPS), who also co-ordinated the program and provided supervision while the children were out completing 30 hours of community service. The youth helped clean up local parks and schools, or lent a hand to a local community group or initiative. They were presented with their bikes July 5 at Tom Davies Square.
Giroux Hietanen, who will be starting Grade 9 at Sudbury Secondary this fall, said he picked up garbage around the city, and "helped people with fireworks for Canada Day," among other things.
The 14-year-old said it's his first time volunteering, but it likely won't be his last.
"I find it really fun and worthwhile doing something," he said. "I might do more next year."
The program is in its 12th year. Const. Julie Midena of the Crime Prevention Branch of the GSPS, said the program benefits both the youth and the police.
"It makes positive connections and good interaction with police officers," she said. "And it encourages them to think about good things they can do, as opposed to getting into mischief."
She said some of the participants actually went beyond their 30-hour requirement.
"That shows a great commitment on the part of the youth," she said. "We encourage the youth to continue those hours, even though you've already received your bike, and help continuing to make this city a great place to live."
Along with the bikes, the participants also received a helmet, bell and lock. They were also provided with a demonstration on how to properly wear a helmet by the Sudbury and District Health Unit.
Marian Mackenzie, owner/operator of three Tim Hortons locations in Sudbury, spoke on behalf of all the City of Greater Sudbury store-owners.
"Tim Hortons has presented 425 bikes through this program and we're very proud of this," she said. "We feel the program teaches local youth the importance of team work and commitment, while also helping to build self-esteem, community spirit and ever-lasting friendships."
Posted by Laurel Myers