Micro-Grant in Action: Norte!

October 17, 2018

Estrellas Balance Bike Program –  Traverse City, MI

For the first time ever, LMB helped to foster the growth of bicycling initiatives around the state with the launch of a Micro-Grant Program. The response to the program was overwhelming. This year, LMB was able to narrow down the applicants to ten amazing organizations with unique programs that promote bicycling or bicycling safety in their area. We are pleased to share their stories and how the Micro-Grant funds are helping them further their own missions, moving us all toward a more bicycle friendly state.

One of the Micro-Grant recipients is Norte!, a Traverse City-based organization. Norte! received a Micro-Grant fund to help purchase a utility trailer and balance bikes for their Estrellas youth balance bike program. Norte has notified us that both are in the works and moving forward! Thank you to Ty Schmidt from Norte for telling their story.

“The utility trailer’s function is two-fold. It has been a lifesaver as we try to make the best use of limited space. We purchased the used trailer from a Norte! supporter. It quickly filled up with stuff, lots of stuff, mostly balance bikes. A volunteer extraordinaire designed an innovative method to hang bikes using cables and crampons for easy access.

The trailer will also be used to transport balance bikes during the winter and spring as Norte! teaches preschool students the basics of balance and coasting. We are continuing to grow this program to include outlying schools in the area. Last year we engaged 240 students in this program. Classes have been taught at the Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS), and we plan to expand to other districts, public and private.

We have also purchased 10 additional balance bikes and have them available to borrow at our weekly summer Estrella meet-ups at the Clubhouse. Families who come enjoy the ease, it is fun and free and attracts many. Volunteers have stepped up and are running this program; greeting families, helping orient kids, making sure those that need helmets and bikes have them available to borrow. We encourage families to come, ride, play and picnic afterward.”

In addition to learning those critical first skills of riding, families are spending quality time together. Priceless!

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