Volunteers beam with pride after a student receives his certificate.
Volunteers beam with pride after a student receives his certificate.

GROTON -- Volunteers are needed during April school vacation week, April 16 -20, to assist at a bike camp at Lawrence Academy in Groton for children with special needs.

Emerson Hospital's Center for Rehabilitative and Sports Therapies is hosting the fourth annual camp, called iCan Shine, which is open to children who are at least 8 years old who have special needs and are able to walk without an assistive device. Trained counselors and volunteer spotters will work with campers to teach them how to ride a bike.

Volunteers need to be at least 15 years old and be available for one or two 75 minute bike sessions each day Monday through Friday during April school vacation week. All sessions are held at the hockey rink at Lawrence Academy, 26 Powder House Road, Groton. The session times are: 8:30 to 9:45 a.m.; 10:05 to 11:20 a.m.; 11:40 a.m. to 12:55 p.m.; 2 to 3:15 p.m.; and 3:35 to 4:50 p.m.

Volunteers will be trained by professional counselors and must attend the same session(s) each day so they can provide continuity for the campers. Volunteers will earn community service hours, a t-shirt and a certificate from Emerson Hospital.

"Riding a bike is one of the most exciting developmental milestones -- it gives people a wonderful outlet for exercise and freedom, and is an activity that families can enjoy together," says Mary Evans, PT, Pediatric and Neurologic Specialist, Emerson Hospital. "Each year, our volunteers have an extremely positive and memorable experience as they play a key role in helping children learn to bike.



The camp is run by iCan Shine, a national non-profit organization that teaches individuals with special needs to ride a conventional two-wheel bicycle through its iCan Bike program. Using adapted equipment, trained professionals, including pediatric physical therapists from Emerson Hospital, along with student volunteers, work closely with each camper to help them meet their goals of biking independently. More than 80 percent of campers learn to ride independently by the end of camp.

For more information and to register as a volunteer, please visit: http://icanshine.org/ican-bike-groton-ma/ or email Mary Evans, PT at icanshinebike_rehab@emersonhosp.org.

Sponsors of this year's bike camp are: Lawrence Academy, Spring Hill Suites, Hilton Garden Inn Devens, Bay State Apparel, Cataldo Gift and Garden Shop, and Goodale's Bike store of Nashua.