Jaycees donate tricycles to MECC

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Clarendon County Junior Chamber of Commerce members Nelson Gibbons and H.B. Buddin experienced a bit of nostalgia as they dropped off 10 new tricycles at the Manning Early Childhood Center Wednesday.

During their days as kindergartners, they had ridden some of the same tricycles being supplemented or replaced.

"Where's my trike?" Buddin asked as he looked through a garage full of trikes, pieces of trikes and an assortment of other peddle powered vehicles, looking for his favorite from his kindergarten days.

The "Jaycees" are a civic group for people ages 18 to 40. Gibbons said they raise money and find projects to "make the community better."

Buddin said the group often raised money to maintain ball fields in the county.

"Athletics is not our only focus," he added.

Buddin said Robin Prothro, a pediatric occupational therapist at MECC, and a member of the Wellness Committee, had suggested the idea of purchasing some new tricycles for the MECC.

Prothro said some of the tricycles had been in use for 20 years or more. She said the trikes are part of a wellness program sponsored by the Medical University of South Carolina and Boeing, which donate to schools to support keeping kids active at school.

In 2016, Clarendon School District Two earned an extra $2,000 grant from Boeing for its wellness program, she said.

"We are trying to incorporate more exercise and movement during the school day," Prothro said.

She said the tricycles help the kids develop their motor skills. Prothro said the district considered buying new bikes with the grant money, but decided not to when they realized how much the heavy-duty tricycles cost.

The Jaycees donated $1,500 to pay for and assemble 10 of the Silver Rider Angel tricycles. Joining Buddin and Gibbons in delivering the trikes were Jaycees Thad Kennedy and Corey Blackmon.

MECC teachers and staff brought out many of the school's students, from 4 year olds to first-graders to celebrate the donation, and to show off the blue drink bottles they earned by recording how much water they drink to stay hydrated.

"We are trying to get the kids to develop healthy lifestyles," said Kelli Bellant, enterprise learning coach at MECC.