28 local kids receive bikes through Smith School of Business, YMCA partnership

A few of the bicycles assembled by students in the Smith School of Business Executive MBA (EMBA) program, ready for their recipients who were chosen by the YMCA of Eastern Ontario. Image via Queen’s University.

Two weeks ago, students in Queen’s University’s Smith School of Business Executive MBA (EMBA) program completed a team-building event designed to give back to the community. On Friday, Jun. 10, 2022, 28 bicycles, assembled by the EMBA students, were handed to the YMCA of Eastern Ontario.

During a two-week in-class session, the University said that nearly 80 EMBA students worked in teams to assemble the bicycles through the health and wellness program at Smith called Fit to Lead.

The YMCA of Eastern Ontario was chosen as the organization this event would support, based on the diversity and needs of the children the organization supports, according to Colleen Gareau, Director of Marketing and Communications at the YMCA.

“The YMCA was asked to order bike parts through our contacts on behalf of Queen’s,” Gareau stated. “We also reached out to families and provided bios of children from a spectrum of ages to Queen’s.”

According to the university, a child was identified for each bike, and the bicycles each had a safety check at Frontenac Cycle to ensure they were ready for the road.

“The YMCA is excited about this partnership because it not only recognizes the work we do with kids and families, but it provides bicycles to kids whose families may not otherwise be able to provide them with one,” said Rob Adams, CEO of YMCA of Eastern Ontario. “Having a bike is almost a rite-of-passage for youngsters, and we are very happy to be able to facilitate this for some kids in our community.”

Jill Macdonald with the YMCA (front), speaking with Journie Brown and her mother at the bicycle hand-over ceremony on Friday, Jun. 10, 2022. Image via Queen’s University.

This is the second time Queen’s EMBA students have collaborated with the YMCA on this initiative, the university stated. According to a media release, the program began in 2019 and was met with great success by EMBA students and the YMCA community. The program was on hiatus in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Smith Executive MBA program is a 16-month program that allows students from North America to study while balancing personal and professional responsibilities, according to the release. Two-week residential sessions take place in Kingston, allowing classmates to network and attend classes in person.

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