Teaching Kids Bicycle Safety and Helmet Awareness
Several months ago, Brandon Hamilton, a 17 year old Millburn teen was looking for a community service project to fulfill the requirements for his Eagle Badge. He approached Carol Albanese, Executive Director of Opportunity Project,Inc. in Millburn to ask how he could volunteer. Ms. Albanese told him “we have the perfect project for you”.
Carol Albanese suggested to Brandon that he join Opportunity Project in helping raise awareness in the community about brain injury prevention and helmet safety. Brandon did this by enlisting the aid of his Eagle Scout Troop 17 of Saint Rose of Lima Church, and raised $500 to purchase new helmets for the children served by the Kids Division of the Community Food Bank of New Jersey and the Morristown Neighborhood House. The Neighborhood House provides a variety of services to children including pre-school, before/after school childcare, summer camps and more. The Community Food Bank Kids Divison provides children classroom supplies, new clothing, and nutritious, kid-friendly meals. When asked why he decided to do this project, Brandon said “this was an important activity because I know how important it is to wear a helmet. I play in many sports activities and my parents have always insisted that I wear my helmet.”
Joining forces with High Gear Cyclery of Millburn and AAA of Florham Park, Opportunity Project held a helmet and brain injury awareness day for children who attend the summer program of the Morristown Neighborhood House. Nick Burton, Manager of High Gear Cyclery welcomed the children to their store in Millburn where the children were fitted appropriately with helmets. “We couldn’t have thought of a better way to get the word out about the importance of riding bicycles safely by wearing a bicycle helmet” said Nick. The helmets were purchased at cost for the children with the funds raised by Brandon to go along with gently used bicycles they will be receiving from the Good Goes Around program in Short Hills.
A pizza luncheon and awareness talk by Chief Barber of the Millburn Police Department took place afterwards at Opportunity Project, where the children were also provided with goody bags supplied by Ed Baginski, Traffic Safety Officer of AAA. The children who eagerly participated in the activities were so excited about their helmets that they didn’t take them off. Sandra Mintor of the Morristown Neighborhood House said “This is a day that truly impacts our children, the heart of Opportunity Project and the heart of our program together can do great
things to make a difference in the community”.