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Bike Club in the Deerfield Beach community.

Bringing Bike Club to the Deerfield Beach Community

The DEAEF partnered with Year III Operation Engage, the DEA Miami Field Division, and Deerfield Beach Community Cares to bring Bike Club to Deerfield, Florida elementary and middle school students.

Gretchen Rovira, DEA Community Outreach Specialist, met Joel Smith, President and CEO of Deerfield Beach Community Cares and was impressed with the Bike Club and the additional core programs that cater to the community's needs.

Upon learning that the next session of Bike Club was in jeopardy due funding challenges, DEA and the DEAEF formed a partnership under Year III Operation Engage to ensure its continuity. The 8-week program equips 15 students with biking skills, bike maintenance knowledge, and essential safety practices. Conveniently located at a park opposite the middle school, the program ensures easy access for participating kids.

Broward Sheriff’s Office engaging with the Bike Club participants.

Broward Sheriff’s Office engaging with the Bike Club participants.

Gretchen engaged with Bike Club participants as the program kicked off, educating them on drug prevention, while local law enforcement officers emphasized safety measures. As the program nears its conclusion, the Broward Sheriff’s Office will enhance the experience by creating a bike rodeo, featuring obstacle courses and challenges. Culminating the program, each student will receive a bike and a helmet.

Joel expressed his satisfaction with the partnership, highlighting the positive impact of fostering relationships between students and law enforcement through shared activities which helps them appreciate each other.

“It’s great to see the students mix with the Broward Sheriff’s Office because some have an certain attitude toward police but once they see them having fun and helping in this way, they see them in a different light. They even created a pledge together. Some of the Officers participate in the rodeo which is awesome and helps to bring the community together.”

Joel Smith, President and CEO of Deerfield Beach Community Cares

Joel praised Jarvis Brunson, VP of Operations for Deerfield Beach Community Cares, as “the magic man who makes it all work.” Jarvis diligently oversees logistical aspects, ensuring smooth operations and visible promotion of DEAEF's involvement by mounting the DEAEF banner in the park every week.

The impact of Bike Club is far-reaching in the community. Every week, in addition to the 15 students, many moms and dads come to participate and learn skills. In addition, kids and parents learn about the core programs that are offered at Deerfield Beach Community Cares such as a food pantry, a youth development and leadership academy, other classes like yoga and nutrition and more. If fact, many of the students who are in Bike Club are now active participants in the youth development and leadership academy where they cultivate essential life skills and leadership qualities.

Joel emphasized the profound social and emotional benefits of outdoor biking activities, noting the sense of pride and joy students experience as they navigate their bikes through the streets of Deerfield. The Bike Club stands as a testament to community collaboration and the transformative power of outdoor education provided by positive role models.

Broward Sheriff’s Office interaction with the Bike Club community.

Broward Sheriff’s Office interaction with the Bike Club community.

by Meredith Liepelt

Updated Feb 29, 2024