Rotary donation puts wheels in motion to assist disabled youth

The Dunkirk Rotary recently awarded the Greater Chautauqua Area AMBUCS a $4,000 grant. The amount was made possible through a matching district grant to the city Rotary club.

The Greater Chautauqua Area AMBUCS is a non-profit service organization consisting of a diverse group of men and women dedicated to creating mobility and independence for people with disabilities. That mission is fulfilled by providing AmTryke therapeutic tricycles to individuals of all ages who are unable to operate traditional bikes.

Learning how to ride a bike has long been a rite of passage for American youths: an introduction for those who’ve come of age to a new world of freewheeling fun and independence. For most able-bodied children and adults, mastering bike riding presents few obstacles, but for people with disabilities, riding a bike is a huge challenge.

The trykes are very expensive, and average families are unable to afford them. The funds generously given by the Dunkirk Rotary will fund trykes for children and young adults.

“The Dunkirk Rotary’s donation allows us to fund adaptive trykes (AmTrykes), which are vital in building the physical and emotional well-being of the riders,” said Heather Panczykowski, president of the Greater Chautauqua Area AMBUCS. “It is an opportunity for people with disabilities to be like everyone else and participate with their families and communities with some very cool wheels.”

The Greater Chautauqua Area chapter of AMBUCS was established in 2012 and with funding from donors like the Dunkirk Rotary, can continue to meet their unique mission.

There are 20 children and young adults who have applied for the trykes. The Dunkirk Rotary grant and Rotary District grant will provide trykes for eight of these applicants.