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2 children at Dumfries Elementary School get bicycles on Bike to Work Day

Dumfries Elementary School students DeShawn Lang and Iris Gomez were given each a new bicycle from Volunteer Prince William.

DUMFRIES, Va. — Iris Gomez had never ridden a bicycle.

That all changed for the second grader at Dumfries Elementary School on Friday when she was given a brand new 20-inch pink and purple bike, and safety helmet.

Iris, with the help of her principal Marlene Coleman, strapped on her helmet and quickly hopped onto the new bike. She sat proud and tall on the seat.

Her physical education teacher would have to show her how to ride the bike before she took home, said Coleman.

Iris’ classmate second-grader Deshawn Lang was thrilled at the sight of his helmet and bicycle, a shiny new red a black 20-inch two-wheeled machine.

“We won the bike,” exclaimed DeShawn as he walked up to it.

Volunteer Prince William gave the two bicycles to the children on Bike to Work Day, a time when mom and dad are encouraged to trade the car, bus, or vanpool and chose instead to ride a bike to work. But why should parents have all the fun on this day?

“We are so excited to do this, and I’m so glad you both won,” said Volunteer Prince William Director Mary Foley. ‘It’s a beautiful day out there, and I hope you enjoy riding your bike.”

Jane Byer, from Prince William County Potomac District Supervisor Maureen Caddigan’s office, was also on hand to present the bikes.

“We’re excited to give them to you,” she said.

The bikes were left over from the charity’s annual Un-Trim-A-Tree program that helps give more than 5,000 needy children in Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park gifts at Christmas.

When it came time to decide who the two lucky student winners would be, Principal Coleman turned to the second and third-grade teachers in her school for help.

“Judging by the size of the bikes, we knew they would be good for second and third-grade students, so we put some names of children into a hat who we felt could benefit from having a new bike, and then we drew two names,” explained Coleman.

This is Iris’ first bike and DeShawn’s second. Both students are part of a larger school population of 508 children at Dumfries Elementary School, 75% of which are considered economically disadvantaged.

The majority of children at Dumfries are enrolled in the free or reduced school lunch. The school pays about $3,000 per year to cover the cost of meals students, and their parents cannot afford to pay.

“For some, this is the best meal these children get all day,” said Coleman.

The principal said she was grateful for charities like Volunteer Prince William, and the nearby Dumfries Methodists Chruch for all they do to support and give back to the school.

Uriah Kiser is the owner and publisher of Potomac Local and sits on the Volunteer Prince William Board of Directors.

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