Inspired by Lynda's son, John and his friends, Share the Voice was founded in April 2013. Upon learning adaptive tricycles and other mobility equipment are no longer normally covered by private insurance due to them being coded as "recreational" rather than "medically necessary", Lynda and her friends felt that these fun therapuetic pieces should not be something parents have to fight for when they already fight for so much. When you see the children's faces light up it's reason enough!
A college friend of Lynda's put the first fundraiser into motion with Stella & Dot and raised enough money to cover the fees to complete New York State and IRS paperwork. The women then held the first local tricycle fundraiser at Governor's Comedy Club and gave the first trike away in June 2013 for Katie's birthday surprise. In July 2013, Share the Voice was officially registered and approved as a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization.
Share the Voice has been featured in Newsday Sunday Life edition, Kidsday, South Bay newspaper, seen on Fios 1 Push Pause and even the talk show Harry. The organization has had tremendous support from the community including public and private schools, girls scout troops, large and small corporations, family foundations and individuals all wanting to make a difference.
In 2018, Share the Voice launched their "Crossing the Bridges" campaign with the plan of serving Staten Island and areas in New Jersey beginning 2019.
To make a positive difference in the lives of disabled children through recreation, and to provide a physically active outlet. Our purpose is to increase social skills and self-esteem in a home and neighborhood environment through the use of mobility equipment.
Therapeutic recreation and a healthy lifestyle are key components in every child’s life. It is this organization’s desire to provide adaptive tricycles to special needs children. Through this rite of passage it is our goal to enhance the lives of families who would not otherwise be able to obtain this equipment through other means.
Our program was established to enhance the lives of disabled children. Recreational use of adaptive tricycles brings many rewards. It builds self-esteem and confidence, provides stress relief, increases social skills, strengthens weak muscles and stretches tight ones, and increases balance and gross motor skills. Owning a tricycle helps physically and cognitively challenged children become more independent and gives them the ability to socialize with typical children in their neighborhood. It gives them an outlet to be just like the other kids!
Our program aims to provide these special children with an adaptive tricycle built for them and their specific abilities.
Our community contains many children with physical and cognitive impairments. Riding a typical bike may never be an option for them. Living in a suburban area, it is a rite of passage to play and maintain exercise outside with friends and neighbors. Children who are in need of extra trunk support, extra balance support, and harnesses, can not use just any bike bought from a store.
Long Island children are blessed to live in communities with bike trails, boardwalks, large parks and preserves. For children who can not walk, have visual impairments, and are almost always at the mercy of their caregiver, these tricycles give them the ability to enjoy their natural environments, socialize and gain a sense of independence as they ride along the trails.
Our project will serve physically and/or cognitively disabled children who require an adaptive tricycle rather than a typical bicycle. These children range in disabilities including, but not limited to, neuro genetic disorders, traumatic injuries, severe birth defects, and metabolic diseases. Many of these children require total care of their caregivers and have limited, if any, independence. An adaptive tricycle is medically necessary for many reasons. Children become very motivated to propel and show no increased redness or strain on feet when propelling (unlike what occurs during ambulation most times due to orthotic devices). The tricycle allows hamstrings and heelcords to elongate and helps to maintain an upright posture of trunk. It also strengthens the trunk and lower extremities in an aligned position. Many children need the back support to maintain trunk posture while strengthening lower extremities. The seat belt provides the safety and stability needed to propel the tricycle. The foot sandals with straps and pulleys help to maintain feet in a neutral position when pedaling. The reciprocal motion allows isolated hip movement with active elongation of hamstrings. Children can improve endurance without compromising orthopedic alignment and all at the same time be independent and enjoy a childhood rite of passage!