The Bikes for Books program encompasses two objectives for Every Kid Counts (EKC), the fight against childhood obesity and the fight against illiteracy. The Creighton School District (CSD) has joined Every Kid Counts in this battle, with success.

The program is simple in implementation, with a long reaching impact. EKC donates bikes and helmets to the CSD and 2 bikes per month are given away at each of the nine schools. The bikes are displayed in the school library or the front office for premium exposure and promotion of the program. Students in grades 1 – 5 read a book, fill out a book report form and turn it in to the librarian at their school. The librarian issues the student a raffle ticket for each book read. There is no limit to the number of books a student can read per month. They are encouraged by
the fact that the more books they read, the better the chances are that they will win a bike.

Each month a boy’s name and a girl’s name are drawn from the raffle box and the bikes are presented to the winners. Some schools have special bike assemblies, other schools present the bikes during general assemblies and a few schools draw the name during the morning announcements and the winners names are announced over the PA system for the whole school to hear.

The program started off in a small way, but after a few presentations, it really got underway. The number of books read each month has been growing. The program started in August and to date, the students have read a grand total of 12,160 books. One of the site Bikes for Books coordinators shared a story about a girl who passed up a chance to play at a park with her siblings during Spring Break to stay in and read (she really wanted to win a bike – and she did!).

Recently, Sami Verdula, Miss Maricopa County’s Outstanding Teen 2013, started assisting with bike presentations and has since then raised enough money to donate two more bikes. She has been very enthusiastic and the kids love her and her enthusiasm.