Training big hearts with little wheels

Northlake Christian School Trike-A-Thon

For Lisa Brooks, the St. Jude Trike-A-Thon does more than raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; it helps her teach one of life’s most important lessons.

“You are one person, but you can make a difference for the Lord wherever you are or whatever you are doing, whether it is a canned food drive or helping St. Jude,” said Brooks. “If I can just know when I retire that I taught them that, I’ll know I taught them something good.”  

Brooks serves as the St. Jude Trike-A-Thon coordinator at Northlake Christian School in Covington, Louisiana, where she is director of the school’s Early Learning Center. Northlake held its seventh annual St. Jude Trike-A-Thon on April 12, 2014.  The event coincided with the Week of the Young Child™, sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, which recognizes the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.

“The students understand what they are doing,” Brooks said. “They have fun, but they understand there is a reason behind it. And the parents are really good about getting behind it.”  

Each year, volunteers set up a riding course in the parking lot of Northlake’s high school, and the event’s grand marshal – a local child who was treated at St. Jude – leads the ride in a golf cart.

This year, the grand marshal was the grandson of a teacher at the Northlake Early Learning Center, and “that makes a difference to students. It is a face they can put on the St. Jude mission,” Brooks said.

About 90 children, ranging in age from 2 to 6, participate in the St. Jude Trike-A-Thon at Northlake annually. The school raised $3,270 in 2013, for a total of more than $25,000.

“I feel very blessed to be a very small part of what St. Jude does,” said Brooks, who visited the hospital campus last year in her capacity as volunteer coordinator.

“It was amazing, absolutely amazing,” she said of her visit. “It just fired you up and made you want to come back and do the Trike-A-Thon even better.”