500 bikes to be given out to kids improving on reading skills in southside

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DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ7) A collaboration in Southside will provide a bike to at least 500 kids this holiday season.

But there's a catch, the students have to be improving on their reading skills in school.

Bikes fill the sanctuary at Abundant Life Church in Danville. They're waiting on their new owner to pick them up.

It's all thanks to the Danville Church Based Tutorial Program which is rewarding students who are doing well in the classroom.

"Recognize how important being active, getting physically fit, how important that is. The research behind that says that when a person's active in their activities, it enhances their reading ability," says Danville Church Based Tutorial Program Director, Kenneth Lewis.

Organizers say the incentive program is critical to the betterment of the students.

"We want to bless our community, bless our kids, but at the same time this is a real issue here that we need to stress. I love the fun part of it and blessing them, but we're serious about helping kids to learn how to read," says Lewis.

The tutorial program and Abundant Life Church received a grant from the Danville Regional Foundation for nearly $25,000 to purchase 300 of the bikes - the rest have been donated by members of the church and community.

This isn't the first time the church has done this program.

"We have given away 500 bicycles before, but putting it together with an education mix, which we love, about reading skills, and then with turkeys. We're just excited," says Abundant Life Church Pastor, Bill Motley.

A turkey will also be given to each family that is rewarded with a bike.

Bikes are still up for grabs. If you think your child deserves a bike, you can call the Abundant Life Church at 434-799-8213.