It’s been three years since an IMAGINE community grant from Northern Health paid for two bike racks at École Jack Cook in Terrace, and the racks are used now more than ever.
Jack Cook is a francophone school serving kindergarten to Grade 7 in Terrace. The school is small, with only about 50 students and 12 staff, but both kids and staff are incredibly active.
“Many of the kids at Jack Cook are super keen and athletic,” says Amy Klepetar, a cyclist and mother of two boys at the school. “Regardless of what grade they’re in, the students spend lots of time together outdoors, being active.” Amy originally submitted the grant application for the bike racks on behalf of the school.
Jack Cook bike gang
As many days of the school year as possible, a group of students meet up in the morning and bike to school together.
“It’s usually anywhere from five to 10 kids,” Klepetar says. “In the past, the parents would take turns going with them, but now they’re old enough to ride by themselves.”
Three students who are part of the bike gang – including both of Klepetar’s sons – created and submitted a video about biking to a province-wide GoByBike BC contest a couple of years ago. The three boys wanted more students to realize that cold and rainy weather didn’t have stop them from biking. Their video won a prize, and GoByBike BC has shared it through Facebook and on YouTube.
Secure place to lock bikes
Before the installation of the new bike racks, Jack Cook had one old crumbling concrete rack. Because the rack was useless, kids locked their bikes to the schoolyard’s chain fence, but this was not secure, as thieves can easily cut the fence.
With the help of Northern Health’s IMAGINE grant money, two new bike racks accommodating up to 10 bikes each were installed by parent volunteers in the fall of 2019.
“As a parent, I feel much better knowing my kids can now lock their bikes to a sturdy, secure rack. Small barriers can make the difference between choosing active transportation or not,” says Klepetar. “We plan to continue to use the bicycle racks as often as possible!”
Northern Health IMAGINE grants
The goal of Northern Health’s IMAGINE Community Grants program is to assist communities who are committed to staying healthy and improving the well-being of Northern residents.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic response and restrictions, Northern Health temporarily redirected the IMAGINE funding to support communities a new grant program Northern Resilient Communities Grants. This funding is aimed at supporting groups and organizations who need assistance adapting, maintaining, or establishing practices in response to emerging community health and wellness needs.
The IMAGINE Community Grants program will resume in the fall of 2022. Keep checking the Northern Health website for updates and submission dates.