Character rewarded

Kids can earn wheels through program

Kids can earn wheels through program

October 11, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

According to his homeroom teacher, Jahanzeb Zahib isn't thinking about rewards when he helps her around her Pangborn Elementary School classroom.

"Jay's the kind of kid you never have to tell to do anything ... he just does it," Kristine Franklin said Thursday as she admired the new bicycle the 11-year-old earned recently through the Character Counts program.

The spiffy green and black mountain bike was provided by the Hagerstown Police Department through its recent partnering with Character Counts, an offshoot of the Maryland HotSpot Communities in Hagerstown.


Every year, police recover or seize dozens of bicycles that have been stolen or abandoned, said Hagerstown Police Chief Art Smith. "Before, we would auction them off but I thought it would be a better idea to pass them out to the Character Counts program," he said.

HotSpot Coordinator Carolyn Brooks said Smith came up with the idea after she approached him with a plan to have bicycles donated by area stores for the same purpose.

"Some of these bikes are new while others need a little work, but we've got that worked out, too," Brooks said.

The bikes that need work are going to be rehabilitated free of charge by Mike Mittel of Hub City Cycle Center on Prospect Street.

Smith stressed that only new or nearly new bikes will be directed toward youngsters in the Character Counts program.

"We will still auction off the older bikes or the ones that need a lot of repairs," he said.

So far 20 bikes have been transferred, Brooks said.

Brooks said schools and groups that work with children have been notified of the availability of bikes for those youngsters who excel in the Character Counts effort.

"For instance, this weekend five bikes will be available during the Character Counts sleepover at Boys and Girls Club of Hagerstown," Brooks said.

At Pangborn Elementary, each homeroom teacher nominated a student who exemplifies the qualities that Character Counts is all about - honesty, good citizenship, courtesy, manners, etc. Jay's name was picked in an Oct. 4 drawing, and he received his prize in time for his birthday last Sunday.

"I think it's a great idea," said Pangborn Assistant Principal Lynne Gober.

She said Pangborn has been designated a Maryland School of the Year for Character Counts.

Jay said he is proud of his new bike and the way that he earned it.

"I have respect for others," Jay said. "And I know that manners are important too."

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