Dedham School Riding for Focus and Raising Trail Funds
Dedham School is a small PK-8 school in rural Maine where the staff strives to find ways to reach every student who walks through the door. Tim Pearson works as a physical education and health teacher at the school and helped secure the Riding for Focus grant from Outride this fall. The school was the only one in Maine to receive the grant this year. Students are more than just along for the ride of a new bike program brought to their town. The school believes that adding mountain biking to the school day will help students increase their motivation to attend school, improve their focus and fitness and provide opportunities for social growth.
CBS local affiliated station WABI TV Channel 5 Maine recently aired this special news story on the students to highlight their efforts and success. Dedham School swiftly responded to the call for action for the Outride Fund and set up their own Outride Everyday Hero fundraising page to raise money and earn matching grant funds to build new trails for the school.
"Studies have shown that one out of nine kids struggles with ADHD." says Pearson. "And that isn't any different at our school. The ratio is similar. Those are the kids that are going to benefit the most from it. When kids are physically active during the day, it helps them focus when they get back into the schoolwork. And long-term physical activity actually builds brain cells and builds connections so kids are able to make decisions to focus better and to do better academically in classes."
Nick Boyd is an eighth grader at the school. "Today is our first day on the bikes. We've been practicing our starting and stopping". Gilman Taylor, also in eighth grade, has been anticipating the bikes since last year. "I was pretty excited because I love biking. I bike all around town. It's nice to get out for an hour and just bike around" says Gilman. "Especially when we have standardized tests for two hours a day."
Pearson also shared whether the students are new riders or have been biking for years, the focus on safety and technique is designed to help them improve.
Learn more about the Outride Fund and how to start a campaign in your local community to build trails or support a youth cycling project you are passionate about. What will you Outride? We can help!