Book of Dreams

Bikes give needy children transportation, freedom

A little rain doesn’t stop Arianna Schifano, 12, from trying out her new blue cruiser  Dec. 12 at the Serna Village housing complex. Book of Dreams readers helped fulfill the dream of 25 bicycles for children of the Serna Village Bike Club.
A little rain doesn’t stop Arianna Schifano, 12, from trying out her new blue cruiser Dec. 12 at the Serna Village housing complex. Book of Dreams readers helped fulfill the dream of 25 bicycles for children of the Serna Village Bike Club. lsterling@sacbee.com

It seemed like just another ordinary school day. But then, in an instant, the mundane turned magical when a group of kids from Serna Village were granted a very special Christmas wish – their own bicycles.

Thanks to Book of Dreams readers, more than 25 children who live in the community for formerly homeless families can now pedal their cares away, bike to school and even run errands for Mom.

Among them is Arianna Schifano, who has yearned for a new bike since hers was stolen from her apartment complex a year ago. Arianna, 12, missed her bike terribly – both the sense of freedom it gave her and the feeling of the wind across her face.

But the sixth-grader is back in the saddle, the proud owner of a shiny new Schwinn Legacy cruiser-style bicycle in her favorite color – blue – with a white seat and stripe. Her bike and the others were purchased with Book of Dreams funds at Target and presented to the kids one recent rainy afternoon.

The event, said Arianna’s mother, Tonia, was “one of most beautiful experiences of my life. It was just amazing, seeing our community room all filled with happy children and new bicycles,” she said.

After receiving their bikes, the kids braved the drizzle and took test rides around the parking lot, their parents watching with joy.

“I was just flooded with emotion,” Tonia Schifano said. “Arianna even got a helmet and a lock. She is so happy and feels so fortunate. That bicycle really made her Christmas.”

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