Clark Early Learning Center preschool students, from left, Jacob Levering, Mason Hastings, Saarek Harmon and Kyleigh Richard enjoy new tricycles donated to the school by PNC Bank. Brett Turner/Contributed

Springfield preschool receives new tricycles from donors

A donation from a bank will have Springfield preschool students pedaling indoors and out in 2017.

Sixteen brand new Radio Flyer tricycles were delivered to Springfield’s Clark Early Learning Center last week.

They were donated by PNC Bank through its Grow Up Great program, a $350 million, multi-year bilingual initiative aimed at helping prepare young children for success in school and life.

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Clark Principal Debra Accurso said a phone call came out the blue last month asking if the school was interested.

“I know what PNC has done in Dayton and when they reached out to the Early Learning Center here it was exciting they called us,” Accurso said.

The school’s few existing tricycles are among the most popular play items the students, ages 3 to 5, enjoy riding on the outdoor playground, as well as in the school’s gym. This means some students have to wait turns and the constant use has caused the tricycles plenty of wear.

David Melin, PNC Regional President for Dayton, said PNC’s Dayton employees are committed to the community, and frequently volunteer in region preschools and classrooms.

Several employees helped build the tricycles delivered to Clark.

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“Our team had a great time building the tricycles. We know young children learn through play and anticipate the bikes will be put to good use,” Melin said.

A group of students from Kristen Kruse’s class were wide-eyed with big grins when they saw the gleaming pink and red tricycles complete with streamers and bells lined up in the school’s main lobby.

Even the delivery drivers from Windy City Fieldhouse, a corporate event planning company from Chicago that takes the tricycles to the schools, got into the moment.

“It’s great coming in and seeing the smiles on all the little faces,” said Mike Nespoux of Windy City.

Joined by kids from teachers Kathleen Whetsel and Leslie McKinney’s classes, the students eagerly tested out the new tricycles in the school gym.

Ela Shriver of Whetsel’s class said what she liked most was the pink color of her tricycle. Meanwhile, Lamayia Holloman from Kruse’s room made lunchtime plans.

“I’m going to McDonald’s,” she said and sped off to an imaginary drive-through near the gym’s bleachers.

According to Accurso, this is the first of many potential future projects between PNC and Clark.

“I want it to be a long-term partnership,” she said.

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