There are a ton of great fitness events happening in Pittsburgh this summer, but not many of them allow you to walk away feeling like you made a difference. That’s what hundreds of volunteers felt yesterday after the United Way’s 6th Annual Build-A-Bike! These volunteers joined 150 kids from across the region at Heinz Field for this truly special event.
The purpose of Build-A-Bike is to help kids in the community learn the importance of being active, and provide them with a bike of their very own. It also provides a space for kids to interact with positive role models, and have some fun. When the United Way of Southwestern PA reached out to me about attending this event and capturing it on social media, I was disappointed to learn that nearly 32 percent of youth in Allegheny County are an unhealthy weight. But I also know that play has so many benefits for kids. I am lucky enough to work on a client that promotes outdoor play for children, and I have access to lots of data about this! And riding a bike has been shown to not only benefit a child’s physical health but their learning development and mental health as well (per the Medibank Private Limited). I have some of the best memories of being a kid and going for bike rides, and I try to ride my own bike as much as I can, so to see this event take place was something I was glad to be a part of. Here are some of my favorite highlights from the day.
Bobbi Watt Geer is the United Way of Southwestern PA’s first female CEO (yes!) so this was her first official event in her new role. After former CEO Robert Nelkin kicked things off, Bobbi and a few people spoke about the importance of this event, and how it helps kids develop skills in teamwork and collaboration, along with healthy habits.
Then the best part happened: the kids came out and it was time to build bikes!
It was amazing to see so many local companies from Pittsburgh volunteering. I stayed with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Hefren-Tillotson and Covestro. This was actually the United Way of Southwestern PA’s LARGEST Build-A-Bike event ever, with 400 volunteers! It was really great to see these people taking time out of their day to build bikes with these kids.
Finally, it was the finishing touches – ensuring everything was tightened and working, fitting a helmet and getting a custom name license plate for their bikes. SO cute. The kids loved it!
Thanks so much to the United Way for inviting me to Build A Bike and capture images for social media.