By Lt. Rosie Thomas, AA/Public Information Officer
California Institution for Women
Inmates at the California Institution for Women (CIW) refurbished more than 300 bicycles in 2015 that were then given to children in need in Southern California.
CIW’s refurbished bicycle program’s biggest donations in 2015 were to local school districts, where 250 bikes were awarded to students who improved their attendance. CIW also donated 20 bicycles to the US Marine Corps’ annual holiday toy drive, 20 to Road House Biker Church in San Bernardino and 20 to Saint Charles Catholic Church in Bloomington.
Warden Kimberly Hughes is extremely proud of the program as it gives inmates a way to give back and feel good about their accomplishment. She praised Correctional Officer J. King, Work Supervisor, and the inmates workers for their hard work and for utilizing every part they can to create new bicycles for children.
“The inmates care about putting out quality bikes, and if the bike isn’t right, it is worked on until it is,” Officer King said.
CIW staff member Edward Tolda, who received bicycles for his church, expressed his sincere gratitude and said he was excited and could not wait to see the looks on the children’s faces when they received their new bicycles.
Representatives from the school districts agreed the program is positive – students do improve and feel better about themselves when they are rewarded with bicycles.
CIW’s goal in 2016 is to surpass last year’s donations of refurbished bicycles.