YWCA gets new bikes for kids

Fargo - The children who stay at YWCA Cass-Clay's Emergency Shelter in Fargo have something new to smile about.

They received 13 children's bikes on Thursday from General Equipment & Supplies Inc. to replace some of their aging fleet of bicycles at the shelter. Three bikes were given to kids who are part of the YWCA's housing programs.

"It's nice when they can be self-sufficient. When I was a kid, if we wanted to go see our friends, Mom was not going to drive us," said Don Shilling, the president of General Equipment & Supplies.

The company donated 32 bikes in all and was able to obtain them at a reduced rate from Scheels All Sports.

The employees of General Equipment & Supplies were surprised Thursday morning when their customer service training revealed that their mission was to assemble children's bikes. The company arranged the task as a team-building exercise with one of them blindfolded and the rest giving directions.


"All the bikes were covered with tarps. We had no idea what to expect," said Ryan Knudson of Fargo, a diesel technician at the company.

Employee Eric Cullen of Glyndon, Minn., wore the blindfold on his team.

"I did not volunteer, but my teammates nominated me," said Cullen.

Scheels had an employee to inspect the bikes to make sure they were safely assembled.

Erin Prochnow, the executive director of YWCA Cass-Clay, said that without community support and collaboration with other nonprofits, they would not be able to function.

"Sixty-one percent of the women and children who come through our shelter are there because of family violence," Prochnow said.

"Kids come from situations we can't or don't want to imagine. We served 382 women and children this week alone," she said.

The YWCA has been serving the community for more than a century with a variety of programs to help families, empower women, and eliminate racism.


Last year, YWCA's emergency shelter served 600 kids. The need for toys and sporting equipment is high because they are heavily used.

"We make certain that there is a place for women and children to go that is safe and secure," Prochnow said. "These bikes help us go beyond their basic needs and allows them to have fun."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Stephanie Fail at (701) 235-7311

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