West Edition

Sheriff’s Dept. provides free bikes to Watts kids

WATTS — As parents and students adjust to the new school year, getting to and from classes safely is causing some concern.

For many throughout Los Angeles, the worry centers on what to do if public transportation becomes unreliable or unsafe. The answer for dozens of families recently came in the form of bicycles donated to help students get to school and back each day.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Sheriff’s Youth Foundation donated 69 refurbished bikes to the Watts Area Ministers through the Bicycle Education and Registration program.

Pastor Joe Waller, who accepted the bikes on behalf of the Watts Area Ministers, will organize distribution of the bikes to the church congregation’s youth as part of a back-to-school initiative.

The Sheriff’s Youth Foundation workers say they operate under the belief that safe communities are the result of vigilance, teamwork and the collective desire of residents to live in a place where they and their children are safe.

They will tell you that through the programs the foundation offers, staff equip young people with the resources they need to guide them on a path to success.

The foundation’s executive director said the partnership between the foundation and the department to provide bikes is reflective of the Sheriff’s Department’s commitment to the communities they serve.

“Our extensive outreach empowers thousands of youth each year to become productive citizens and encourages them to realize their unlimited potential” said Megan Reed, executive director of the Sheriff’s Youth Foundation.

The bicycles were received through donations from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Central Property and Evidence unit and then refurbished by inmates enrolled in the education-based incarceration program.

The program is designed to discourage crime and encourages successful re-entry into the community by teaching and rehabilitating inmates, which may lead to decreases in recidivism, the likelihood that inmates will return to jail, and increases the chances they will reintegrate successfully into the community.

“My staff and I are all excited to be a part of this program. Anytime we are able to enhance the life of our youth, we are happy to do so and our return is seeing a simple smile, a happy face and contented child,” said South Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station acting Capt. Eric Strong.

This contribution to provide freedom of transportation to kids may represent a way for the Sheriff’s Department to enhance its relationship with the communities it serves.

The Sheriff’s Youth Foundation reportedly helps thousands of young people each year through various programs to steer them away from crime, build self-esteem, and encourage positive life choices.