2017 Holiday Appeal

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Everything we do is possible because of the kindness of community members like you. We need your help to continue offering a wide variety of recreation programs, as well as high-quality, accessible transportation for our participants.

This year, the Leahy Family Foundation will match all new or increased gifts, up to $5,000! Thank you, Leahy Family Foundation, for your generosity!

Michael Baumann Learns to Ride His Bike:
An interview with Michael’s parents, Franklin Baumann & Tina Mattera

Michael & NSSRA Staff Anthony the day Michael learned to ride his bike

Michael has been participating with NSSRA since 2015, in programs like Camp Sunburst, Awesome Post Camp and Learn to Ride A Bike. Michael has an older sister and two older brothers, and his parents, Franklin & Tina, kindly shared his and their NSSRA experiences below.

Tell us about Michael’s experience with NSSRA’s Learn to Ride A Bike program. Michael has two older brothers and until summer 2016 was never able to join them in riding bikes. We signed him up for bike class with little expectation that he would be riding by himself at the end of the summer, but as a starting point. He began the class and seemed to have fun, and for us that was enough. We thought we would sign him up again the following summer to continue working toward independent biking.

Near the end of the summer, Michael showed up to class and the staff working with him that day, Anthony, was new to Michael. Anthony worked very well with Michael and seemed to know that he was ready to ride on his own. It was certainly a leap of faith on Anthony’s part to say, “Today’s the day we let go,” but that’s what he did, and then Michael was peddling on his own. It was amazing.

To this day, Michael regularly rides bikes with his brothers. It’s a way he can feel just like any other kid. When you build confidence in one area, it carries over into other areas. It helps him socially, for example. His confidence at school has increased, and when asked what he likes to do, he always lists swimming and biking.

What is your advice to parents with children just starting in NSSRA programs? You have nothing to lose by trying. NSSRA staff are incredibly sensitive to participants. If a program doesn’t work out, you can always stop and try something else later, but the staff are fabulous and really engage with participants and care a lot. For us it’s been nothing but a positive experience.