My name is Becky Vordermann. My husband (Bryon) and I are FBJ Creations. We make bike bags in Northern California in Dos Rios. I am also a kindergarten teacher at Round Valley Elementary School in Covelo, CA. We are raising funds through All Kids Bike to obtain the materials and curriculum to teach all the kindergarteners at Round Valley Elementary to ride a bike for the next five years, and we need help from the bike community! The program will improve students' lives by teaching them to ride bikes in PE class. Riding a bike helps develop children's physical, social, and mental well-being.
We have found enormous benefits from bikes in our own lives. Bryon has been riding a bike since childhood and has raced BMX for most of his life. Mountain, gravel, and fat bikes have led him to incredible adventures. He introduced me to biking when we met, which led to bikepacking experiences with our oldest child in tow and the creation of our business. Riding a bike is a skill that has positively impacted our lives in more ways than we can count, from adventures across the country to this business. We want to teach the kids in our community to ride bikes so that the opportunities and joy presented through bikes may impact them.
Covelo, California, is a town of just over 1,300 people in Mendocino County. It's 30 miles northeast of Highway 101. The town has a traumatic history, and the community still struggles today. Most of the population is Native American and come from low-income families. During the 1850s, Round Valley has designated an extension of the Nome Cult Farm, and members of seven California tribes were forcefully relocated to the valley.
Today, Round Valley still faces adversity and struggles. Much of the population struggles financially. Substance abuse and violence are high in the region. The majority of the school qualifies for free or reduced lunch. Many students live in foster care. Many kindergarteners we will teach to ride a bike with this program have suffered abuse and been exposed to horrific things most of us can't imagine dealing with. Recently, a high school student was murdered. Another young man was shot and beaten to death in the street. The father of one of my students was murdered last year. Several of my students have parents that are in prison.
Our family and business relocated to the area in 2021 so that I could teach at Round Valley Elementary School. Working with these students made us want to help bring something positive to the community and All Kids Bike is a program we feel can greatly benefit the students in Round Valley
Last fall, Bryon went bikepacking with his long-time friend Brian Lopes. He helped us get our fundraiser set up with All Kids Bike. Brian donated over $500 to start our fundraising efforts off. He has funded five schools in full from his fundraising efforts to bring All Kids Bike to schools. We are thankful for his contribution but still need to raise more to get this program to our school! We are 24% of the way to our $6000 goal and would like to meet our goal by July.
The kids in this community deserve access to programs to find healthy ways to manage stress, cope with fear and anxiety, and have fun. The All Kids Bike program will allow the kids in this area to have something to look forward to at school and find joy in throughout their lives. We all know that riding a bike gives a sense of freedom. When we have a stressful day or face a difficult decision, biking can provide a healthy outlet. Many of the kids in Covelo do not have the opportunity or support to develop healthy habits. Beyond the troubles, Covelo faces, it is surrounded by beautiful gravel roads that weave through Mendocino National Forest and out to the Lost Coast. If we can teach these kids to ride, maybe they can find the beauty in these hills as we do on our bikes!
If you are able to donate, please do, so we can teach the kids in Covelo, CA to ride bike!
Here is the link to donate: Strider Education Foundation | Kindful