Bicycle Donation Supports School Retention And Boosts Physical Activity In Mexico

Adventist Health and World Vision International recently donated dozens of bicycles to help middle and high school students in North Mexico.

The project, Bicycles That Change Lives, aims to reduce school dropout rates and encourage physical activity. Students will use the bicycles for commuting to and from school and general recreation.

Adventist Health facilitated the delivery of 111 bicycles in coordinated efforts with leaders of Montemorelos University as well as municipal leaders of General Terán, Allende, and Montemorelos districts in the Nuevo Leon State in December 2021. An additional 250 bicycles will be delivered this month, with five more deliveries planned throughout the year.

Representatives from the health and education sectors of the Mexican state government, Montemorelos University, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North Mexico, municipal mayors of each region, and John Schroer, Global Mission System lead for Adventist Health, attended special events to mark distribution of the first bicycles.

“Our goal is to build strong and healthy communities. It is very exciting for us to see the beginning of this program and look to the future to bring other programs to these communities,” said Schroer.

To qualify for a bicycle, students must be enrolled in the current school year, have limited resources, no other means of transportation, a history of good school behavior, and meet a specified grade point average during the last school period.

Roel Cea, M.D., Health Ministries director for the Adventist Church in Northern Mexico and director of health promoting universities in Mexico, has coordinated efforts with municipal leaders. Cea said each region has an invested interest in the logistics of the project, from the donation of the bicycle to the selection of bicycle recipients. “Each of the sectors has a specific responsibility so that the social impact of the project can be effectively accomplished in each region.”

During a preliminary meeting, weeks before the bicycles were delivered, María Guadalupe Rojas, representative of the public education secretary of Nuevo Leon, thanked donors and the Adventist Church for the initiative and committed to ensuring that each bicycle would get to the students that needed them the most throughout middle schools and high schools in the region.

“I love this project, and I know that the supervisors and principals of these schools will be so happy with this project as well as the families and students who will benefit from the bicycles,” said Rojas.

After the initial distribution of the bicycles, a meeting to consolidate the social impact of the project, which includes promoting healthy communities, took place after the individual community events and was attended by Schroer and municipal presidents Daniel Sánchez (General Terán), Patricia Salazar (Allende), and Miguel Salazar (Montemorelos). Ismael Castillo, Montemorelos University president, Cea, and Arturo King, president of the North Mexican Union, attended on behalf of Montemorelos University.

“It has been very rewarding to see these bicycles get in the hands of students who really need them,” said Schroer, adding that partnering with Montemorelos University has been a win-win experience.

Patricia Salazar (center), Allende Mayor, and John Schroer (on her left) attend a community event with students and their new bicycles. [Photo: Adventist Health]

Patricia Salazar (center), Allende Mayor, and John Schroer (on her left) attend a community event with students and their new bicycles. [Photo: Adventist Health]

“Students at the university who are distributing the bicycles get to interact with younger students in the community and get to know them, while community members have the opportunity to explore the world of higher education at Montemorelos.”

The recent Adventist Health donation included a 26-foot cargo truck, provided by Adventist Health Rideout, that will facilitate distribution of the bicycles as well as medical supplies for Adventist Health clinic partners throughout Northern Mexico.

About Adventist Health

Adventist Health is a faith-based, nonprofit, integrated health system serving more than 80 communities on the West Coast and Hawaii as well as others across the U.S. through its Blue Zones company, a pioneer in taking a systemic and environmental approach to improving the health of entire cities and communities. Through this work, Adventist Health is leading a 21st-century well-being transformation movement. Founded on Seventh-day Adventist heritage and values, Adventist Health provides care in hospitals, clinics, its innovative Adventist Health [email protected] program, which provides virtual in-patient care at home, home care agencies, hospice agencies, and joint-venture retirement centers in both rural and urban communities. Our compassionate and talented team of 37,000 includes associates, medical staff physicians, allied health professionals, and volunteers driven in pursuit of one mission: living God’s love by inspiring health, wholeness, and hope. Together, we are transforming the American healthcare experience with an innovative yet timeless, whole-person focus on physical, mental, spiritual, and social healing to support community well-being.

This article was originally published on the Inter-American Division’s website and the Adventist Health website.

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