The Tempest

Winter Wish: Prof. rebuilds bikes for kids

Judith Perez, Staff writer

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For the past nine years, the Child Development program at Solano Community College has brought holiday joy to the children. Their Winter Wish program has been helping families by providing gifts and food by pairing their wishes to someone willing to donate.

“Many of our families complete a form to list their wishes,” said Christie Speck, director of Children’s Programs. “All anonymous, the family does not know who gave them goods.”

To support the effort, Karen Cook, a drafting and design professor, has been donating bikes for the kids. Cook obtains used bikes from second-hand shops, garage sales or from people who donate.

“Most bikes have something wrong them,” Cook said. “Then I fix the bikes and clean them so they look new.”

Cook buys brand new helmets for kids using her own money or with support from the Career and Technical Education faculty, even buying some bikes just to acquire parts. Often, Velowrench, a bike shop in Vacaville, gives Cook bikes at no cost, since it is for a charitable cause.

“We check to make sure the bikes are safe,” said Cook.

“It is something I like to do,” said Cook. “Since I am a cyclist myself I like to see kids on bikes. I know in the children’s program some parents cannot afford bikes. It makes me feel good to give something special to the kids for the holidays.”

The Winter Wish program started nine years ago, Cook joined the year after.

“Christie helps find families,” said Cook. “We’ve been doing it for so many years, now the kids have outgrown their bikes, so the parents return them. So we fix them up so they can be reused.”

Cook usually sends out eight to 10 bikes for boys and girls a year and she asks for support. Cook is looking for more bikes for Solano’s youth. To help or donate, contact Cook at

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Winter Wish: Prof. rebuilds bikes for kids