Long Beach Firefighters Local 372 and its Honorary Association donated 22 shiny new bicycles to high schoolers during a ceremony at the Bethune Transitional Center for homeless students this week.
Bethune Program Coordinator Rhonda Haramis said the students – two from each local high school – earned the Huffy beach cruisers by exhibiting outstanding effort at school despite difficult challenges.
“They have all these obstacles, yet they’re about to graduate and they’re persisting,” Haramis said of the students. “They all gave me thank-you notes and big hugs. They made me cry.”
The students also received helmets and bike locks.
Active and retired firefighters have donated about 300 new and slightly used bicycles to Bethune over the past four years.
Bethune opened in 2006 and serves as a hub for homeless students who attend local schools but rely upon the center for referrals to services, counseling and other support.