Bikes for Kids winners

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Philip Smith, 13, named first winner in 2017 Bikes for Kids program

Joe Barberi and Allison Quast-Lents, owner of Motorless Motion, present Philip Smith, 13, with his mountain bike in downtown Mt. Pleasant.

Middle school can be a trying time, as kids test the boundaries and explore their newfound freedom. It is a time when fitting in and going along with the crowd might seem like the easiest thing to do. But, for Shepherd Middle School student, Philip Smith, doing what is right is more important.

“When I see someone being bullied, I step between the bully and the other person,” Smith said.

Smith, 13, was nominated by one of his teachers, Kristi Bush, to win a mountain bike from Barberi Law’s Bikes for Kids program.

“Philip is very kind to other students and very respectful to teachers,” Bush wrote in her nomination. “He shares concerns about other students and honestly wants to help them make good decisions. He takes to heart what teachers and other speakers say about student safety and responsible decisions, and he asks questions about how he can help other students.”

Gail Stallkamp, Smith’s mom, was completely shocked when she found out he had won a bike. She didn’t even know Bush had nominated him.

“I’m always glad to hear people say good things about him, and recognize how hard I worked to raise him,” Stallkamp said.

Smith said it makes him feel good to help other people.

“It helps them out, so they don’t have to do it all by themselves,” he said.

Allison Quast-Lents, owner of Motorless Motion in downtown Mt. Pleasant, helps winners choose a bike, helmet and lock when they visit her store.

“Getting to help a hardworking kid pick out the bicycle they won is the favorite part of my week, every week,” Quast-Lents said. “I love hearing the stories of how they helped make our community a better place.”

Smith loves to be outside, and he’s looking forward to riding his new bike to his friend’s house this summer.

Peyton Duncan, 8, wins second bike in Bikes for Kids program

Allison Quast-Lents, owner of Motorless Motion, and Joe Barberi award Peyton Duncan, 8, his new mountain bike in downtown Mt. Pleasant.

Peyton Duncan, 8, of Clare, wanted a new bike for his birthday coming up in September. Little did he know, he would be getting that present early, and from an unexpected source. Duncan was nominated by his classmate’s mom to win a mountain bike through Barberi Law’s Bikes for Kids program.

Duncan and his family had no idea Jennifer Owens nominated him for the recognition.

“I felt really happy, since Corbin has been my best friend since preschool,” Duncan said.

Owens’ son, Corbin, is autistic and will be going into third grade with Duncan this fall.

“He takes him on sensory breaks and helps reassure and calm him down when things get overwhelming,” Owens wrote in her nomination. “He often talks about how much he loves to help Corbin and hopes they will continue to be in the same class. Did I mention this is an 8-year-old ‘popular’ boy that has helped Corbin be accepted by his peers that may not otherwise care? Peyton has a heart of gold and deserves recognition.”

Duncan enjoys spending time with Corbin and helping him find the answers for his work at school.

“It makes me feel warm in the heart, and I just like helping people,” he said. “If you help other people, they will do good stuff for you and be nice to you for the rest of your life.”

Duncan’s mom, Danielle, and his dad, Jim, said finding out about the nomination was “a very proud, proud moment.” They talked about how Corbin knows he can go to Duncan for comfort if he is having a rough day.

“He’s always been kind of an old soul,” Danielle said. “He and Corbin just clicked in preschool.”

Allison Quast-Lents, owner of Motorless Motion in downtown Mt. Pleasant, showed Duncan how to take care of his bike and helped him get ready to ride.

“As a parent, I can relate to these proud parents that are almost more excited about their kids winning a bicycle in the Bikes for Kids program,” Quast-Lents said. “The kids are excited about the bicycles, but the parents are proud that they did something right.”

Aydn Schwartz, 13, wins third bike in Bikes for Kids program

Joe Barberi and Allison Quast-Lents present Adyn Schwartz, 13, with his certificate and mountain bike at Motorless Motion in downtown Mt. Pleasant.

For 10 years, Adyn Schwartz, 13, has volunteered at HopeWell Ranch in Weidman. During the summer, he is there three days a week, and during the school year he is there every Wednesday. His hard work and dedication spurred his mom to nominate him to win a mountain bike from Barberi Law’s Bikes for Kids program.

Schwartz was excited when his mom, Lisa, told him he had won a bike.

“I didn’t know I was nominated,” he said. “She just bombed me and told me that.”

Lisa said she was “speechless” when she found out her son was going to be recognized. She spoke about his volunteer work at HopeWell in her nomination.

“Aydn has selflessly toiled in service to HopeWell Ranch for literal years of his life,” she wrote. “His first visit was at 3 years old, when he went to help his dad erect a hay barn. At 7, he began in the junior volunteer program and has consistently been there two to three days per week each summer since. … He loves the ranch and will stop at nothing to see it be a place where anyone can belong.”

HopeWell Ranch, a nonprofit organization, uses horses to reach out to children and people who may have emotional, spiritual, physical and social needs. Lisa said the ranch has helped Schwartz, even more than he has helped them.

“It gives him a place to be himself,” she said. “It has helped him develop his character and self-esteem.”

Schwartz said his favorite thing about the ranch is the horses, especially when he gets to ride Roman.

“I do anything they need me to do, like picking up manure or cleaning port-a-potties,” he said.

Jodi and Ty Stuber, owners of HopeWell, along with Schwartz’s mom, his dad, Joel, and three of his siblings, came to Motorless Motion in downtown Mt. Pleasant to see Schwartz pick out his new bike, helmet and lock. Jodi talked about what makes Schwartz a great volunteer.

“His willingness,” she said. “He’s always willing to do what needs to be done. He doesn’t slouch. He’s an amazing young man.”

Attorney Joseph Barberi enjoys meeting the bike winners, their families and friends. He gives the children a certificate recognizing them for their acts of kindness.

“It was a pleasure to meet Aydn and his family,” Barberi said. “Jodi and Ty invited me out to the ranch, and I look forward to seeing the work they do to help others.”

Schwartz said it makes him happy to help other people.

“I like their expressions the most,” he said.

Schwartz is homeschooled in Lake Isabella, and he is looking forward to riding his bike this summer, when he’s not playing with his Legos or spending time at the ranch.

“This is the nicest bike I’ve ever had,” he said.

Genavieve Huntoon, 8, wins fourth bike in Bikes for Kids program

Dave Barberi presents Genavieve Huntoon, 8, with her certificate and mountain bike at Motorless Motion in downtown Mt. Pleasant.

Do you remember the first time you heard your parents say your name? It’s probably not a day you remember distinctly, but for Genavieve Huntoon, 8, it is something she has been waiting her whole life to hear. Two weeks ago, she heard her mom call her by name.

“She wasn’t facing me, and she just whipped around,” Delani, Huntoon’s mom, said. “I asked her, and she knew I said her name.”

Huntoon was born profoundly Deaf, meaning she could not hear anything. It was her choice to have surgery in December to get a cochlear implant, which was activated in January, so she is slowly starting to hear and put together more sounds and words.

Huntoon was nominated to win a mountain bike through Barberi Law’s Bikes for Kids program. She volunteers in the nursery at Thrive Church every Sunday. Sarah Burkhart, Thrive Kidz director, nominated Huntoon.

“We are a portable church, so each week we have to set everything up,” Burkhart wrote in her nomination. “She helps set up our nursery and toddler area every week, so little kids have a place to hang out while their parents go to church. … She is showing other boys and girls her age what it takes to learn to hear.”

Burkhart came to Motorless Motion with Huntoon and her parents to pick out her new mountain bike and helmet.

“She’s an example to the other kids,” Burkhart said. “It doesn’t matter what age you are, you can get up and volunteer. She is our youngest volunteer.”

Huntoon helps put the mats together for the nursery, and she picks out the toys she thinks the children would like to play with each week. She makes sure there are toys for boys and girls available, and she enjoys helping with the younger kids, Delani said.

“She can relate to their gestures and limited speech,” Delani said. “She knows what to do to keep them happy.”

Huntoon was very excited when she found out she won a bike. She and her family had no idea Burkhart had nominated her.

“I had to explain it to her three times,” Delani said. “It was a nice surprise.”

Huntoon lives in Blanchard and attends school at Central Montcalm. For five weeks this summer, she is attending speech camp at Central Michigan University.

“She is enjoying music class for the first time ever,” Delani said. “She thought it was pretty boring before, but now is developing an appreciation for it.”

Delani said it could take a few years before Huntoon’s hearing totally develops. Speech camp helps her process sounds and the words they represent, then she stores those away in her memory.

“It will open a lot of doors for her,” Delani said. “It will make things easier for her.”

Vincio Fernandez, 11, wins fifth bike in Bikes for Kids program

Joe Barberi gives Vincio Fernandez, 11, his Bikes for Kids certificate at Motorless Motion in downtown Mt. Pleasant.

Vincio Fernandez, 11, may be shy and soft-spoken, but his actions speak volumes to those around him. His helpfulness and ambition are two reasons why his mom, Mallory, nominated him to win a bike through Barberi Law’s Bikes for Kids program.

“Vincio is an amazing child inside and out,” Mallory wrote in her nomination. “He is constantly helping out with his younger brothers because he knows that being a single mom working full time is hard on me. Last summer, he gave up his entire summer just to help me take care of his brothers. … For only being a sixth grader, he sure is an amazing role model for not only his friends and brothers, but myself, too.”

Fernandez was really excited when his mom told him he was chosen to win a mountain bike from Motorless Motion in downtown Mt. Pleasant. He had no idea he had been nominated, or what his mom said about him in her nomination.

“It just makes me really happy that she actually thinks that,” he said.

Fernandez said it makes him happy when he helps others, or when others help him.

“Then, they have time to do stuff for themselves, instead of doing the stuff they need help with,” he said.

Mallory said Fernandez, who goes to school in Beal City, maintains a 4.0 GPA and received academic awards in all of his classes. She said he also signed up to join the cross country team, which requires him to run 1.5 miles a day, except for Friday.

“I don’t really exercise, so I wanted to start,” Fernandez said about joining cross country.

He said he is looking forward to being a part of the team and doing things with his teammates. In the meantime, he likes to read, play with his brothers and play video games. He is also looking forward to “just riding my bike around.”

Mallory cried when she found out Fernandez was selected to win a bike, helmet and lock.

“I was shaking,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Mallory said Fernandez babysits his brothers, helps put them to bed at night and helps get them dressed in the morning.

“He tries to teach them right from wrong,” she said.

Drew Novak, 11, wins sixth bike in Bikes for Kids program

Drew Novak, 11, receives his Bikes for Kids certificate from Joe Barberi and one of the teachers who nominated him to win a bike, Rachel Jaksa.

Not one, but two teachers, thought of the same student when they were preparing to write nominations for Barberi Law’s Bikes for Kids program. Rachel Jaksa and Amy Weber, teachers at Fancher Elementary in Mt. Pleasant, both said Drew Novak, 11, was at the top of their lists.

“He jumps right to the top of your head when you’re thinking about kids that do the right thing all the time,” Weber said.

Jaksa and Weber sent in a joint nomination about Novak, who will be a sixth grade student at West Intermediate this fall.

“He is kind, caring and respectful to all,” they wrote. “He is a young man whose small acts of kindness have made a huge difference in our classrooms and school. He is very inclusive of every student, no matter what. … We have witnessed him work with students with challenging behaviors and do nothing more than simply be their friend. … He offers to help when needed and leads his class by example.”

Novak said he was very surprised when he found out he won a mountain bike, and even more surprised when he found out his teachers nominated him. He said it makes him feel awesome to help other people.

“I like the fact that if you help someone, it could help them succeed in the future,” Novak said. “It’s best to help if they’re struggling or not.”

Novak, his parents, Jason and Michelle, siblings and teachers came to Motorless Motion in downtown Mt. Pleasant to pick up his bright green bike, helmet and lock. His parents were very proud that Novak’s teachers nominated him for the program.

“It’s really cool to hear other people say those things about your kid,” Jason said. “This program is an unbelievable reinforcement, reaffirmation of what they’re doing.”

Attorney Joe Barberi enjoys meeting the bike winners and their families.

“I am always excited to learn who my staff has selected to be the weekly winner,” Barberi said. “I am especially delighted when teachers nominate them for what they do in the classroom, like Drew has.”

Novak and his family moved to Mt. Pleasant from Nashville, Tennessee, two years ago and they enjoy all the outdoor activities Michigan has to offer, no matter what the season.

“I love to go fishing with my dad,” Novak said.

 

Faith Schuch, 14, wins seventh bike in Bikes for Kids program

Dave Barberi presents Faith Schuch, 14, with her Bikes for Kids certificate at Motorless Motion in downtown Mt. Pleasant.

When you take your mom’s cell phone on a youth group trip with you, you never know what kinds of calls you might get. Faith Schuch, 14, was in Florida when she found out she was chosen to win a bike through Barberi Law’s Bikes for Kids program.

“I kind of had a sense it was supposed to be a surprise,” Schuch said about the call. “I was really happy when I found out.”

Schuch was nominated by Jodi Stuber, owner of HopeWell Ranch in Weidman, for all the volunteer work she does helping kids at the ranch.

“She gives 110 percent at everything she sets her mind to,” Stuber wrote in her nomination. “Faith began helping at the ranch as a general volunteer, and has worked her way up to Wrangler and now assists with lessons. … Faith is devoted, determined and dependable. This young lady is truly beautiful inside and out, and she has really helped us with our mission of assisting people in their quest of finding hope and healing! … I am inspired daily by her drive and passion!”

Schuch volunteers at the ranch three days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. She has been helping out for six years, and she really enjoys working with the kids and horses. Schuch said when she is instructing the kids, she likes to start them off easy, play some games and lead them around until they get comfortable.

“I just like knowing that I can impact someone else’s life,” she said. “The horses and kids are both good for each other.”

Schuch, who will be a ninth grader at Beal City High School, also talked about why she thinks it’s important to help other people.

“There are a lot of people out there who need our help and love,” she said. “And, if you can give it to them, you might as well.”

Stuber and her husband, Ty, along with Schuch’s mom, Tania, visited Motorless Motion in downtown Mt. Pleasant to help Schuch pick out her bike, helmet and lock. Tania knew Stuber had nominated Schuch, but had no idea what the nomination said. Tania described how she felt after hearing what Stuber wrote.

“It warms my heart,” she said. “I was honored and excited for her. It is well deserved.”

Tania explained how when Schuch was in kindergarten, she brought home a picture she drew of a house with a fence, a horse and a racecar. Shuch said then that she wanted to have a ranch with horses and drive a racecar. Not only does Schuch work with horses on a ranch, but she also does drive a racecar.

“She is fulfilling her passion,” Tania said.

Schuch races a four-cylinder Honda at Berlin Raceway and Spartan Speedway on Fridays and Saturdays, most weekends from June through September. Tania said Schuch is always busy doing something, and she runs cross country and track during the school year.

Schuch also has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, which she takes medicine and has to get infusions for every four weeks. However, Stuber said Schuch doesn’t let that stop her.

“If we give her a challenge, she rises to it,” Stuber said. “She never backs down.”

Brock Binder, 10, wins eighth bike in Bikes for Kids program

Brock Binder, 10, gets his Bikes for Kids certificate from Dave Barberi in downtown Mt. Pleasant.

Brock Binder’s love of baseball, and his willingness to teach other kids about his favorite sport, won him a new mountain bike through Barberi Law’s Bikes for Kids program.

Binder, of Mt. Pleasant, was on the Union Township All-Star team this summer and also plays for the Mt. Pleasant Drillers. He plays shortstop and pitcher when on the field, and he was nominated to win a bike by family friend, Heidi Mahon.

“Brock Binder is a caring young man who always looks out for everyone around him,” Mahon wrote in her nomination. “He has diabetes and underwent heart surgery, but that doesn’t define him and definitely hasn’t limited his activities. Brock loves playing baseball. He is usually the kid to start the pick-up baseball game in the yard and he encourages all kids to play with him. He is very patient with younger children, helping them understand the details of baseball. … Brock exhibits the positive community spirit alive in Mt. Pleasant, and I expect we will continue to see more positive aspects in Brock as he continues to grow and mature.”

Binder and his parents, Jim and Maggie, didn’t know Mahon had nominated him to win a bike. He said it felt awesome to hear the things Mahon wrote about him.

“I am just proud of him and his efforts,” Maggie said.

Binder said it just feels right to help other people and include them in things you are doing.

“If you don’t let people play, it might make people feel bad,” he said. “And, I don’t want people to think that about me.”

Maggie talked about how Binder doesn’t have a lot of experience riding a bike, since he has a scooter and rides that all around. She said his brother Brody just got a new bike, so the two boys will learn how to ride together.

Maggie, Brody, Mahon and her husband, Andy, were at Motorless Motion to see Binder pick up his bike, helmet and lock. Allison Quast-Lents, owner of Motorless Motion, helped Binder test out his new bike by walking along with him as he rode to help him keep his balance.

Binder had double valve replacement surgery, called a Ross Procedure, in March 2016. He was born with a bicuspid aortic valve instead of a tricuspid aortic valve. He also had another heart surgery back in 2010.

“It only took about three weeks for him to start throwing a baseball again,” Maggie said.

Even when Binder isn’t on the field with a team, he’s still playing baseball.

“I like to have home run derbys in my backyard with my brother,” he said.

Jarrad Johnson, 14, wins ninth bike in Bikes for Kids program

Joe Barberi presents Jarrad Johnson, 14, with his Bikes for Kids certificate at Motorless Motion in downtown Mt. Pleasant.

Putting others before himself is second nature to Jarrad Johnson, 14, of Winn. So, when he found out he won a mountain bike through Barberi Law’s Bikes for Kids program, he thought about who could use the bike more than he could.

“I like to run places, and I have a bike,” Johnson said. “So, I want to give the bike to someone who would use it more than me.”

Johnson’s giving personality is what led two Shepherd Middle School staff members, Marta Escamilla and Winnay Wemigwase, to nominate him to win a bike.

“He is the most kind-hearted kid I have ever met,” Escamilla wrote in her nomination. “He is 14 years old, and he places the needs of everyone else before his own. … For a teenage boy, he is respectful of everyone … teachers, adults and fellow students. I have never, in my 18 years of working at Shepherd Schools, met a kid like Jarrad.”

Johnson was thrilled to find out he won the bike, and had no idea he was nominated.

“It makes me feel like I’m doing things right,” he said. “To get picked out of that many kids in the county is crazy.”

Johnson said he doesn’t think about helping others, it’s just something he feels he’s supposed to do.

“In my mind, I don’t get too emotional or need much, so when somebody else does, why not help?” he said. “I would rather go without.”

Johnson also said it feels good to try and make someone else’s day better.

“It makes them have a great feeling within themselves,” he said.

Johnson’s mom, Lisa, and his brother came to Motorless Motion with him to pick out his new bike, helmet and lock.

“It has just been a wonderful experience,” Lisa said. “I was totally surprised and I couldn’t believe it. I just don’t know why he would want to give it away, but that’s just who he is.”

Johnson loves to play sports, specifically basketball, and will be a ninth grader at Shepherd High School this fall. He loves to go fishing at Horseshoe Lake in Lakeview and canoeing with his brother.

Elizebeth Tarrant, 12, wins 10th bike in Bikes for Kids program

Elizebeth Tarrant, 12, gets her Bikes for Kids certificate from Attorney Dave Barberi at Motorless Motion in downtown Mt. Pleasant.

Elizebeth Tarrant, 12, always thinks about what she can do to help others. Her constant desire to give is what spurred her grandma to nominate her to win a bike through Barberi Law’s Bikes for Kids program. Tarrant didn’t know she was nominated, and was very happy to find out.

“I was noticed for all the good things I do, and she notices all the good I do,” Tarrant said about her grandma’s nomination. “I don’t look for a gift for helping others, though.”

Her grandma, Sheila, said Tarrant is a member of the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation’s Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) and volunteered at a soup kitchen when she lived in Laramie, Wyoming.

“Elizebeth told me she believes the best way to help someone believe in themselves is to show them respect, and look beyond the circumstances they may have gotten themselves into,” Sheila wrote in her nomination. “Her passion is to be involved with the homeless.”

Sheila and Tarrant’s sister came to Motorless Motion to help Tarrant pick out her new mountain bike, helmet and lock. Tarrant was looking at the flyers while waiting there, noticed one asking for help, handed it to her grandma and said they needed to help.

“I like when after I help someone, the look on their face just says thank you,” Tarrant said. “Because if you help someone, and someday you need help, they will help you.

Tarrant lives in Clare, but will be an eighth grader at Renaissance Academy in Mt. Pleasant. She moved back to Michigan in January, after living in Wyoming for a while. She enjoys going to events for the YAC and helping distribute grants.

“She got involved because she wanted to find all the resources available to help others in the community,” Sheila said.

Tarrant is spending her free time this summer hanging out with her sister, who still lives in Wyoming. She also had fun meeting Michigan sports stars at a golf outing hosted by the PohlCat Golf Course in Mt. Pleasant in June, which benefited the YAC.

Barberi Law plans to continue the Bikes for Kids program in the summer of 2018. Nominations will be accepted again in May 2018.

“We are so proud of all the kind, giving children we have met this summer,” attorney Joe Barberi said. “We are blessed to have such amazing young people set an example of what community is all about. We can’t wait to give away more bikes next summer.”

2016 Winners

Moritz Richter, 12, named first winner in Bikes for Kids program

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Joe presents Moritz Richter with his Bikes for Kids certificate. Marcus, Moritz’s father, and Allison Quast-Lents, owner of Motorless Motion, helped Moritz pick out his mountain bike.

After competing in Field Day events at Donald L. Pavlik Middle School in Alma, Moritz Richter thought he would receive a paper certificate, or maybe a coupon for some free food, but he was pretty surprised when his teacher told him he won a mountain bike.

Richter, 12, did not win the bike for his skills on the field, but for his compassion in the classroom. His teacher, Danette Guild-Hubbard, nominated him for Barberi Law’s Bikes for Kids program. The program recognizes children who are doing good things in their communities.

“We wanted to do something to recognize those children in our community that quietly do things to help others,” Attorney Joseph Barberi said.

Guild-Hubbard was Richter’s homeroom teacher, and she nominated him to win a mountain bike from Motorless Motion. In her nomination, she wrote about how Richter’s family is from Germany, though he was born in the United States, and how he is an English as a second language student. She said he did a variety of things to help her throughout the year, but one act of kindness really stood out to her.

“However, what impresses me most about him is that he is, and has been for several years, a peer mentor to an autistic student,” Guild-Hubbard wrote in her nomination. “Moritz simply shines in this capacity. He is compassionate, helpful, patient and loving toward this student, and has worked with him one-on-one through a number of situations. This is not something Moritz does for the credit or accolades, because there are none. He does it out of love, and friendship toward this other student.”

Richter and his parents, Marcus and Ellen, did not know that Guild-Hubbard nominated him for the Bikes for Kids program. After being contacted by Barberi Law, Marcus got in touch with Guild-Hubbard and asked her if she wanted to tell Mortiz the news.

Richter and his parents came to downtown Mt. Pleasant Saturday, June 18, to pick out his new bike. Allison Quast-Lents, owner of Motorless Motion, helped Richter pick out his bike, helmet and lock. She also showed him how to properly take care of his bike, and also told him some things to keep in mind while riding it.

Richter was very excited to be recognized for helping others. He said he likes to help others because it makes them feel better. He also talked about the classmate he helps.

“He feels like he has a friend,” Richter said. “He says it’s hard to find friends.”

Richter’s parents were happy to have their son appreciated for the kind things he does. They said he doesn’t look for recognition, but it’s always nice to be appreciated.

Libby Olson, 10, wins second bike in Bikes for Kids program

Riley Jr., Crystal, Marley and Libby Olson stand with Libby's new bike in front of Motorless Motion in downtown Mt. Pleasant.

Riley Jr., Crystal, Marley and Libby Olson stand with Libby’s new bike in front of Motorless Motion in downtown Mt. Pleasant.

When Libby Olson was 7 years old, life as she knew it changed forever. She started to fear leaving the house, she would cry all day long, she was in constant pain. Her mom, Crystal Olson, said doctors didn’t believe there was anything really wrong with Libby. Finally, in October 2015, a doctor in New York diagnosed her with PANDAS, Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections.

This spring, Crystal saw a post about Barberi Law’s Bikes for Kids program on Facebook, and decided to nominate Libby, 10, to win a bike.

“She is always wanting to help people,” Crystal wrote in her nomination. “If she gets money, she spends it on other people. She’s the first one to notice someone crying, and often goes up and gives them a hug. I would love for her to win and help her feel like a kid again.”

Libby, along with her mom, brother, sister, nana and papa, came to Motorless Motion in downtown Mt. Pleasant on Friday, June 24, to pick out her new mountain bike, helmet and lock. She was chosen as the second winner in the Bikes for Kids program.

Libby was really happy when she found out she won the bike for being kind and wanting to help others.

“It makes other people happy, and it makes me happy,” Libby said. “It shows people they can do those things, too.”

One of Crystal’s friends who is homeless recently moved in with the family, which also includes an older sister and Libby’s dad, Riley. Libby gave up her room, so their new guest would have a place to call her own.

Crystal was really excited to learn Libby was chosen by Barberi Law to win the mountain bike.

“She has lost a lot of her childhood,” Crystal said. “She deals with things most 10-year-olds don’t have to deal with.”

Crystal said Libby has to have infusions every couple months that shock Libby’s antibodies to stop them from attacking her brain. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the symptoms of PANDAS “are usually dramatic, happen ‘overnight and out of the blue,’ and can include motor and/or vocal tics, obsessions and/or compulsions. In addition to these symptoms, children may also become moody, irritable, experience anxiety attacks, or show concerns about separating from parents or loved ones.”

Crystal stays home full-time to care for Libby. Libby’s teachers from Ganiard Elementary in Mt. Pleasant came into their home to help keep her on track with her schoolwork. She will be in fifth grade in the fall at Fancher Elementary in Mt. Pleasant.

Joseph Dawe, 10, wins third bike in Bikes for Kids program

Joe presents Joe Dawe with his Bikes for Kids certificate. Dawe's parents, Heather and Daryl, and Allison Quast-Lents, owner of Motorless Motion, were there, too.

Joe presents Joe Dawe with his Bikes for Kids certificate. Dawe’s parents, Heather and Daryl, and Allison Quast-Lents, owner of Motorless Motion, were there, too.

On Friday afternoon, it was hard to tell who was more excited, the 10-year-old boy or his dad. They both walked into Motorless Motion in downtown Mt. Pleasant with huge smiles on their faces, as Joe Dawe, 10, of Ithaca, came to pick out his new mountain bike.

Joe wasn’t getting a bike because he had outgrown his other one, but because he was being recognized for volunteering to help out a classmate. Joe’s dad, Daryl, had been trying to think of a way to reward his son for being kind. He said he saw a flyer for Barberi Law’s Bikes for Kids program, and felt like it was the perfect way to recognize his son.

In the nomination, Dawe wrote, “Joe has volunteered to walk a classmate with special needs to the student’s grandparents’ car after school to make sure the student arrives safely. He has done this in rain, snow, heat and wind. When other obligations pulled him away from his duty, he felt terrible about it and worried about the other boy. Joe is always optimistic and looks for the good in everyone he meets.”

Dawe coaches wrestling, and was a little leery of the time it would take for Joe to walk this other boy to the car. He said after school is normally a time when he rushes around to get right to practice.

“It forced me to slow down a bit, to take a deep breath,” Dawe said. “I was so impressed by how seriously Joe was taking it.”

Joe’s mom, two younger sisters and little brother all came to Mt. Pleasant to watch as he picked out his new gray bike, helmet and lock. Both his parents told him how proud they were.

“Joe, just continue thinking with your heart and your mind, and it’s going to take you places,” his mom, Heather, said.

“I haven’t been more proud,” Dawe said. “He did a great job, and he’s an awesome kid.”

Jaylin Bradbury, 8, wins fourth bike in Bikes for Kids program

Joe and Jaylin Bradbury stand with her new mountain bike outside Motorless Motion.

Joe and Jaylin Bradbury stand with her new mountain bike outside Motorless Motion.

Imagine going about your day, and all of a sudden, your hair started to fall out in clumps. For Jaylin Bradbury, 8, of Shepherd, that is exactly what started happening to her last year.

Jaylin was diagnosed with alopecia, a condition where the immune system attacks hair follicles, and doctors don’t know what is causing the hair loss. Since she was losing most of her hair, Jaylin decided to donate what hair she had left to a program that makes wigs for kids, since she now wears a wig.

So, when her mom, Tina, saw a Bikes for Kids flyer in Jaylin’s Friday folder from school, she decided to nominate her. Tina submitted the nomination in the beginning of June, so when Barberi Law contacted her to tell her Jaylin had won in the last week of June, she was excited.

“I had forgotten about it because I had nominated her a while ago, so I was surprised to get the call,” Tina said.

Jaylin, her mom, her dad, Jason, her aunt and her mom’s fiancé came to Motorless Motion on Wednesday to pick up her new bike, helmet and lock. Jaylin didn’t find out until that morning she was chosen to win the mountain bike.

In her nomination, Tina wrote, “She is the most caring, loving, kind-hearted little girl … She’s always wanting to help others in need and never expecting anything in return. I could not be more proud to call her my daughter.”

Jaylin said she was very happy to win, and was excited to start practicing on her new bike in her long driveway.

She said she chose to donate her hair because other people did it so she could have a wig. So, she wanted to help another child get a wig.

“It makes them feel better,” Jaylin said.

Tina said Jaylin hasn’t let her hair loss affect her too much. She participated in Girls on the Run this spring, as well as softball in Shepherd.

“She’s OK with it,” Tina said. “She’s really confident, and if kids ask her questions about it, she just answers them.”

Jaylin has been using steroid cream on her scalp for a year to try and stimulate the hair follicles and get her hair to start growing back in. Tina said the first cream wasn’t working, so doctors prescribed another one. If the creams don’t work, the next treatment would be injections into Jaylin’s scalp. Tina said they hope to avoid going that route.

Mitaya Collin, 11, wins fifth bike in Bikes for Kids program

David Barberi presents Mitaya Collin with her Bikes for Kids certificate at Motorless Motion in downtown Mt. Pleasant.

David Barberi presents Mitaya Collin with her Bikes for Kids certificate at Motorless Motion in downtown Mt. Pleasant.

On Mitaya Collin’s 11th birthday, she celebrated with a new bike from Motorless Motion in downtown Mt. Pleasant. It wasn’t a gift her family bought, but a reward for being kind and always putting others first.

Collin was chosen as the fifth winner in Barberi Law’s Bikes for Kids program. Her grandma, Connie Napier, nominated Collin to win.

“Taya has always been the first one in school to help out new children, or children in need,” Napier wrote. “Even though she tragically lost her father in September 2015, Taya has never felt sorry for herself, and has the kindest soul ever. She donated her toys to Central Michigan Mental Health, so the children visiting there would have something to take their minds off bad things … .”

Collin will be a sixth grader at Mary McGuire Elementary in Mt. Pleasant this fall. Her favorite subject is math, and she loves to spend time climbing trees in her yard and swinging with her friends. She enjoys helping others whenever she can.

“I just like seeing them happy,” she said. “I feel like it’s the right thing to do.”

She said she thinks other kids will be inspired to be kind when they read about other kids, like her, being recognized for the good things they do.

Her mom, Emma Stickney, said it was a bittersweet day for Collin. It was her first birthday without her dad, and she had already gone through his birthday and Father’s Day without him. Stickney was thankful Collin had something positive to take her mind off her loss for a little bit.

Stickney said Collin was very excited to learn she had won a mountain bike.

“She said, ‘I’ve got skills I didn’t even know I had,’” Stickney said.

Napier said Collin loves little kids, especially her little brother and sister, and always helps take care of them. She said Collin is very sympathetic to others.

“Even though she lost her daddy, she recently hugged me at my father’s funeral, and said, “’You’re OK Grandma, it’ll be all right,’” Napier said in her nomination.

Easton Damude, 10, wins sixth bike in Bikes for Kids program

Easton Damude, 10, picked out his bike at Motorless Motion in downtown Mt. Pleasant.

Easton Damude, 10, picked out his bike at Motorless Motion in downtown Mt. Pleasant.

Three years ago, James Damude told his kids they needed to come up with some ideas on how to spend their summer vacation. He didn’t want them anchored in front of the television, or playing video games all day. So, the kids started making a list. Their idea, a lemonade stand, has grown into something bigger than they imagined.

Easton Damude, 10, was nominated to win a bike through Barberi Law’s Bikes for Kids program for his work at the Midland lemonade stand, which raises money for foster kids to go to summer camp. Easton, his sister, Sydney, 8, his sister, Emily, 5, his brother, Silas, 3, and his dad came to Motorless Motion in downtown Mt. Pleasant Thursday to pick out his new bike.

Damude said he studied business at Northwood University in Midland, and wanted to teach his kids some of the basic principles. He said the lemonade stand has helped him do that.

“The biggest thing I like about it is it is something we can do as a family,” he said. “Also, it helps give back to the community.”

The family runs the stand, Sweet Sydney’s Old Barn Lemonade Stand, at the Midland Area Farmers Market and other events around the area. The kids are paid $5 an hour to work at the stand. They started out just serving lemonade, but now sell lemon drop candies and lemon-scented soap and candles. There is no set charge for cups of lemonade, it is all based on donations. They also ask local businesses to act as sponsors and put their logos and names on the back of T-shirts they sell.

“It only works because of the generosity of the people,” Damude said.

In 2015, the Damudes donated $3,000 to send foster kids to Mid-Michigan Royal Family Kids Camp this summer. Although the stand accepts any donation for a cup of lemonade, those that give $100 or more become “Lemonade Angels” and have an all-access pass to lemonade from the stand.

Easton was excited about winning a mountain bike, helmet and lock from the Bikes for Kids program. His family didn’t know about the program, so they were surprised to hear Easton had won. Geoffrey Rettig, chief assistant prosecutor in Midland County, nominated Easton to win the bike. Easton is the paperboy in Rettig’s neighborhood, and Rettig thought a new bike could help Easton on his paper route.

“He is such a great kid,” Rettig said. “I thought it would be neat if he won a bike. I didn’t even tell him or his family that I nominated him.”

Rettig talked to Damude at a summer block party in their neighborhood, and found out just how involved the family is in the community. Rettig felt Easton should be recognized for his professionalism and his work to give back to the community.

Easton will be a fifth grader at Midland Academy. He and Sydney had a chance to speak to students at Northwood University in June about their lemonade stand. They spoke about social entrepreneurship at the weeklong camp, LAB (Learning About Business), and served the participants lemonade afterward.

Xander Bardell, 11, wins seventh bike in Bikes for Kids program

Xander Bardell, 11, of Mt. Pleasant, stands with the teacher who nominated him, Rachel Jaksa, attorney Joe Barberi, his mom, Dawn, and his dad, Mike, at Motorless Motion.

Xander Bardell, 11, of Mt. Pleasant, stands with the teacher who nominated him, Rachel Jaksa, attorney Joe Barberi, his mom, Dawn, and his dad, Mike, at Motorless Motion.

When Fancher Elementary teacher Rachel Jaksa looked at a Bikes for Kids flyer she was supposed to distribute at school, she immediately thought of one deserving student.

“I saw the criteria, and his name just popped into my head,” Jaksa said. “I knew if he came to mind immediately, I should nominate him.”

Jaksa, a fifth-grade teacher, nominated Xander Bardell, 11, of Mt. Pleasant, to win a mountain bike from Motorless Motion in Mt. Pleasant for the quiet things he does to help others.

“Xander is selfless, kind and full of joy,” Jaksa wrote in her nomination. “He is genuine, gets along with everyone and does whatever he can do to help others. I have witnessed him stand up for students that are different than others on multiple occasion. He does the right thing when other students do not have the confidence to do so. Kids like Xander make our community better because they are so willing to put others before themselves.”

Bardell came to Motorless Motion to pick out his bike, helmet and lock on Tuesday, July 26, with his parents, Mike and Dawn, and Jaksa. His parents didn’t know Jaksa had nominated him to win a bike.

“I was so proud and excited,” Dawn said. “I couldn’t wait to tell him.”

Bardell said his parents initially teased him about getting a call from his teacher, making it sound like he was in trouble.

“I was happy she nominated me,” he said. “It could have been any of the kids in my class.”

Bardell said he enjoys helping others to keep them caught up on their schoolwork and make sure they know what they are doing.

“I like the feeling of knowing they’re going to be able to do it,” he said.

He will be a sixth grader at Fancher this year, and has been attending the Youth Police Academy in Mt. Pleasant. The three-week program is for kids in fifth through seventh grades, and students have to write an essay and be selected for the program.

“I want to be a police officer, or maybe a famous baseball player,” Bardell said.

Jackson Beery, 11, wins eighth bike in Bikes for Kids program

Jackson Beery, 11, and his family picked up his new mountain bike at Motorless Motion in downtown Mt. Pleasant.

Jackson Beery, 11, and his family picked up his new mountain bike at Motorless Motion in downtown Mt. Pleasant.

When Jackson Beery, 11, of Saginaw, was given a class assignment to create something that he could sell and give the proceeds to charity, he decided to write a book about his brother.

His mom, Amber Beery, nominated him to win a mountain bike from Barberi Law’s Bikes for Kids program. In her nomination, she wrote, “His younger brother was diagnosed with autism several years ago. Jackson noticed that sometimes other children aren’t sure how to treat kids with special needs, so he wrote and illustrated a children’s book that gives an inside look, from a brother’s perspective, about what it means to know and love a child with special needs.”

Jackson’s book, “Differences Make No Difference,” was published and sold via lulu.com. The 30-page book features photos of Jackson and his 6-year-old brother, Chase. More than 300 copies have been sold, and Jackson raised $2,005 to send to Africa.

Jackson’s dad, Matt, travelled to West Africa on a mission trip several years ago to help with construction of a church. Jackson chose to send his money there to help the missionaries.

“So far, they have used the money to pay for medicine for two children with epilepsy, and the school fees for a first-grade girl who is an orphan,” Amber said.

Jackson was excited to come to Motorless Motion on Wednesday, Aug. 3, to pick out his new bike, helmet and lock. His parents, Chase, and his sister, Reese, came with him.

Jackson didn’t know his mom nominated him for Bikes for Kids after seeing another one of the winners featured on WNEM-TV’s website. He talked about why he decided to write a book about Chase.

“Kids with special needs are just as cool and awesome as other kids,” Jackson said.

He said he was happy that he could create a project that raised money to help other people.

“We’re all people, and God made us, and no one is better than others,” Jackson said.

His parents are very proud of all he has accomplished, so far.

“It’s really neat to see that compassion in him already at 11,” Amber said.

Jackson will be a sixth-grader at Swan Valley Middle School in Saginaw this year.

Carter Dole, 10, wins ninth bike in Bikes for Kids program

Carter Dole, 10, and his mom came to pick up his new mountain bike at Motorless Motion in downtown Mt. Pleasant.

Carter Dole, 10, and his mom came to pick up his new mountain bike at Motorless Motion in downtown Mt. Pleasant.

Carter Dole, 10, of Mt. Pleasant, has helped a special needs student at his school since they were both in first grade. But to Dole, it was just a way to make a new friend.

Dole was nominated by his fourth-grade teacher at Vowles Elementary, Laurie Richards, to win a bike through Barberi Law’s Bikes for Kids program.

In her nomination, Richards wrote, “Carter is the kind of student that stands out in a classroom. He is a gentle leader who helps kids naturally. Throughout the year, Carter was a peer buddy to a student with special needs in the classroom. … Watching him work with this student to support his learning, or to help him deal with a frustrating moment, was a beautiful experience. Carter helped this student to be successful and never asked for anything in return. My classroom followed Carter’s lead and helped make this student’s year one of the most successful ever. Thanks to Carter for being an incredible student with a big heart!”

Dole and his mom, Jill, came to Motorless Motion on Thursday to pick out his new mountain bike, helmet and lock. Dole was happy and surprised that Richards nominated him.

“She’s always doing something different from everyone else, and it’s always fun,” he said about Richards’ classroom.

Aside from making new friends, Dole talked about another reason he likes to help people.

“Because if you don’t, they will just get bullied because they can’t do things others can,” he said.

Jill also was surprised to find out Dole was nominated for the Bikes for Kids program, but she was happy her son’s teacher recognized him for his kind behavior.

“As a parent, it’s great to have someone else see those qualities in your child,” Jill said. “It is nice to know he is making great choices.”

Dole will be a fifth-grader at Fancher Elementary in September. He has an older sister and a younger brother, and was excited to win a bike for himself.

“I will use it a lot, and I will have something Carly and Bennett don’t have,” he said.

Chelsea White, 13, wins 10th bike in Bikes for Kids program

Chelsea White, 13, of Shepherd, picked up her mountain bike at Motorless Motion in Mt. Pleasant.

Chelsea White, 13, of Shepherd, picked up her mountain bike at Motorless Motion in Mt. Pleasant.

As a Young Marine, Chelsea White, 13, of Shepherd, participates in many activities that teach her a variety of life skills. As part of her training over the past two years, she has enjoyed many community service opportunities.

White, who will be an eighth grader at Shepherd Middle School, was nominated to win a mountain bike from Barberi Law’s Bikes for Kids program by her Young Marines unit commander, John Smith.

In his nomination, Smith wrote, “Over the past two years, she has spent time assisting the Salvation Army in their Red Kettle fundraising drive and assisting Toys for Tots with the distribution of toys to needy children. In addition, she voluntarily shovels snow for an elderly neighbor woman. At present, Chelsea is working at the county fairgrounds with the Community Youth Garden. The crops are given to the Community Soup Kitchen.”

White was “overjoyed” when she found out she won a bike from Motorless Motion. She didn’t know Smith had nominated her.

“It was really surprising,” White said. “He was kind of giving me hints about something, but he talks in riddles, so it was hard to really figure it out.”

White, her mom, Krissy Giffin, and her sister, Jordyn, came to Motorless Motion to pick out her bike, helmet and lock. White talked about why she likes helping others.

“It gives me good satisfaction to know I’m helping people, to know I’m at least out there doing something,” she said.

White said if she needed help, she wouldn’t expect someone to help her. But, she believes it’s good to be there for others and not expect anything in return.

“Nobody really deserves to be left alone,” she said.

White is a devoted artist, who loves the outdoors. She attends Young Marines every other Saturday throughout the year. She has visited the police station and jail in Mt. Pleasant, seen how the Jaws of Life works and taken part in an outdoor winter camping trip at Deerfield Nature Park, where she got to build her own shelter.

Giffin said she was very proud of her daughter.

“I have seen her make an effort to make good decisions,” Giffin said. “She has a love for helping people. She gets an emotional rush from it.”