Togetherhood Project brings bikes to kids in Chesapeake

24 May 2017


Volunteer led “Togetherhood Program” at the Y provides 52 bikes to local youth, including two adaptive fitness bikes to Butts Road Primary School.

Chesapeake, VA, May 17, 2017- Motivated by a continued focus to build a stronger community, volunteers from the Great Bridge/Hickory Family YMCA partnered with two local groups, Southside Tri & Cycle and Primrose School, to raise funds for and build 52 bicycles for youth throughout the Chesapeake community.

Togetherhood, the Y’s signature program for social responsibility, invites members to lead and participate in volunteer service projects that benefit their local communities, often partnering with existing community groups. “Merry Spinmas”, a project started by Southside Tri & Cycle Club and Y member Shawn Buddenhagen, was brought to the Y’s Togetherhood volunteers in late 2016 in order to grow the impact of the original project. The goal was to raise money in order to purchase, assemble and donate bicycles to local kids around the community. With the partnership between the Y’s Togetherhood volunteers, Southside Tri & Cycle and Primrose School, the project was destined to be a success.

The passion from three Y members in particular, Shawn Buddenhagen, Rob Riek and Tonya Gill, led the group in raising enough money to donate 52 bicycles, locks and helmets. Rob and Shawn are long-time Y members both active in the Southside Tri & Cycle group, and Tonya is a dedicated Y member and franchise owner at the Primrose School at Cahoon Commons.

Once the money was raised, the bikes were assembled in the gym at the Great Bridge/Hickory Y. Of the 52 bikes that were donated, nine bikes were given to the project, fully assembled, from Primrose School, and 43 were assembled by Togetherhood volunteers. Two of the 43 that were assembled were particularly special adaptive fitness bikes.

Adaptive fitness bikes provide those with physical limitations who would otherwise be unable to ride a bicycle the opportunity to enjoy the mobility, strength, coordination and interaction that a non-adaptive bike provides a rider. These two bikes were donated to Butts Road Primary School on May 10, 2017.  “To see this project come full circle with the donation of these adaptive fitness bikes to Butts Road Primary means that our collection of volunteers did exactly what they were meant to do—get to the core of our community and build it up,” said Adam Kahrl, District Vice President at the Great Bridge/Hickory Family YMCA. Butts Road Primary Principal Jay Lewter explained that the adaptive fitness bikes will allow students to build on their coordination, in return helping them academically through improved reading skills and focus.
In 2016, Togetherhood projects from around YMCA of South Hampton Roads locations worked with a total of 36 community partners and involved nearly 700 volunteers in the Y’s cause to strengthen community. From feeding families at the holidays to preparing teens for life after high school, Togetherhood volunteers help to build a better us. To find a Togetherhood project near you, visit

About the YMCA of South Hampton Roads
The YMCA of South Hampton Roads is a nonprofit, community-based health and human services organization that serves over 250,000 children and families throughout Coastal Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina. More than 30% of those families receive financial assistance through the Open Doors program, whose funding is made available by the generosity of donors, helping them achieve their full potential in spirit, mind and body. The Y’s doors are open to people of all ages, backgrounds, abilities and incomes.
The Y: We're for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.