Penn Manor community steps up to donate bikes for students in need

More than a dozen Penn Manor students will be able to get to summer jobs, run errands and attend ESL classes, thanks to the generosity of community members who donated bicycles to families in need.

The effort began when Wendy Letavic, English Language Development coordinator for the school district, encouraged students to attend a free, two-week English as a Second Language program in August.

Many of them said they’d like to attend but had no way to get there.

So Letavic asked them, “If you had a bike, would you ride there, since it’s in Millersville? And many of them said yes,” she recalled.

Letavic sent out an email to the high school staff explaining the need and asking for bike donations. That email resulted in four bikes, some of them in need of major repairs.

That’s where one of her students, Josenlly Martinez, stepped in. 

Josenlly used to fix bikes and sell them for extra money to help his family in the Dominican Republic before immigrating to the United States two years ago. He volunteered to do any needed repairs to make the bikes safe and rideable for students.

“It is amazing what he can do for these bikes, making them look almost like new,” Letavic said.

When demand for the bikes grew, Letavic sent out another email appeal, which a Penn Manor staff member shared with her church. That produced eight more bicycle donations, along with several helmets.

A local bike shop also became involved, as did an organization called Santa’s Spokes. In all, about 20 bikes and several helmets have been donated to date.

“The students are so elated to receive a bike because this gives them many more opportunities during the summer to get out of the house, socialize, exercise or get to a job,” Letavic said. “This has been such a rewarding experience.”

Several more students are in need of bicycles, and helmet donations also are being accepted. To donate, contact Wendy Letavic via phone or text at 717-475-5906.

Many thanks to the Penn Manor community for stepping up to support this cause!