Down Syndrome Partnership iCan Shine

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The annual iCan Bike camp, hosted by the Down Syndrome Partnership of Tarrant County, changes lives by teaching a skill most people take for granted, said Amber Holmes, DSPTC’s managing director.

For 75 minutes per day during the five-day camp, people with Down syndrome learn to shed the training wheels and ride a bike. iCan Bike’s success rate is 80 percent or higher, Holmes said.

Holmes said this skill is a feat for campers, because low muscle tone and other things that come with developmental delays and disabilities make the coordination and focus needed to ride a bike especially difficult.

“Not only do they gain independence and confidence, it allows them to bike with their siblings like everyone else,” Holmes said. The camp is put on by iCan Shine, Inc., an organization that provides learning opportunities to people with disabilities through movement and experience.

Hosting the iCan Shine bike camp can be expensive from renting space, to providing a bike technician and providing helmets for all the riders.  The overall cost of putting on the camp averages up to $500 for each of the 35 campers. A grant from the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation helped DSPTC to fund the camp in years 2008, 2010, and most recently in 2013.

Families pay $125 to secure their spot, but upon completing the camp, receive a $150 gift certificate to go toward purchasing a bicycle.

“One of our goals is for them to be included in the community and be contributing members of our society and working, and this just opens another door for them to get on their bike and ride to work,” Holmes said. “It’s just truly life changing for all people involved.”

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