Municipal Association of SC 2019 Achievement Award Winner
Working for Wheels - A Cycle of Success
For more than a decade, the City of Orangeburg Department of Public Safety has used bicycles in several ways to promote academic success and smart decision-making among the community’s youth and to fight against the influence of gang activity.
The effort has several aspects including the Rivers Bridge Ramble, an organized bicycle ride and self-supporting fundraiser that takes place in the fall. The most recent event brought together nearly 130 riders and generated close to $4,000 in funds for the project.
At the beginning of the school year, the Department of Public Safety contacts schools for nominations of students to receive bicycles based on their academic success and model behavior. This program, known as Working for Wheels, distributes the bicycles around Christmas and provided for more than 60 children last December. In some cases, local businesses donate bicycles that have been damaged or returned. The department has a dedicated space for bicycle repair and fixes up the bicycles to make them look new.
The department also hosts a gang prevention and intervention summit in September. The summit is aimed at fifth and sixth graders, who are at the age when officers say many begin making critical choices and could be tempted to gravitate toward gangs, given the wrong influences.
The 2018 event at Claflin University brought in more than 1,200 fifth and sixth graders. 2019 will see the 12th Annual Rivers Bridge Ramble. For this year, the department is looking to gather more Working for Wheels bicycles than in years past by inviting participants to donate new or used bikes during the event.