West Elementary School second-grader Max Troche plans to wear his brand new helmet when he rides his green and black bike this spring.
“I’m excited because the helmet I have hurts my head,” Max said.
Thanks to a donation from Hudsonville Rocket Cheer, a program for girls in first through eighth grades, he is one of 520 kindergarten through fourth-grade students at West who have brand-new bicycle helmets.
Along with the headgear, they received helmet fittings from Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital representatives, who led education sessions on bike safety. Students learned how, when and why to wear bike helmets.
In 2016, of nine children admitted to the hospital because of bike accidents, only two were wearing helmets, said Kim Hernden, DeVos Children’s Hospital injury prevention specialist.
Britni Schipper, director and owner of Hudsonville Rocket Cheer, said the program hosts a fundraising event every year. “We wanted the girls to learn more than just the sport of cheer,” she said. “By collecting funds, the girls learned to come together as a team to be able to give back to our community.”
Schipper and her assistant director are both emergency room nurses at Spectrum Health, so keeping children safe is “near and dear to our hearts,” she added.
West Elementary physical education teacher Shani Padding helped share information on bike safety during the fitting session. “It’s been fun for me to see the kids being excited about being safe,” she said.