APEX (gifted education) students at McKinley Elementary School in Elkins Park recently met with Rep. Ben Sanchez regarding a cause that is important to them – young people wearing helmets while riding a bike.

As part of a class project in lessons related to civic engagement and advocacy, sixth-grade APEX students established a goal of wanting to raise awareness about the importance of wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle, calling the campaign “Helmet Heads.” The students created posters that were displayed around the school highlighting various statistics they researched regarding helmet-wearing and non-helmet wearing cyclists, and used photos of students wearing helmets to show they’re trendy and cool. They also engaged their peers by rewarding them with “helmet head” coupons for those they saw wearing helmets while cycling to school.

Most importantly, however, the students realized that without proper legislation, their aim to have more students wear helmets would be challenging. That’s why the sixth-graders also reached out to state Rep. Ben Sanchez in an effort to encourage legislation to raise the mandatory age of wearing a bicycle helmet from 12 (the current age of the sixth-graders), up to 16. Sanchez met with them in person on Thursday, March 12, to discuss their ideas.

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