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Central Florida Youth Find a Unique Way to Give Back

For Boys Town Central ​Florida Family-Teachers Gregory and Shannon Showalter, finding an activity that their entire household would enjoy was a challenge.

“In our house, we have a very diverse group of young gentleman,” said Gregory. “We tried many projects and discovered that they all liked walking the many trails that Florida has to offer.”

After noticing many bikers on the trail, the family began to discuss ways they could earn money to purchase their own trail bikes. This was during the holiday season, and rather than spend their allowance money on something they wanted, like new bikes, the boys decided to donate their money to “Christmas Bikes for Kids”, a local non-profit that Boys Town Central Florida partners with. The Christmas Bike Program is an organization that has provided over 4,000 bikes to underprivileged children in Central Florida over the past 14 years.

The boys’ generosity didn’t go unnoticed, however, when they awoke Christmas morning to find five brand new mountain bikes in front of the Christmas tree. “Christmas Bikes for Kids” had in-turn donated bikes to the youth.  

“One of our youth commented that he had never had his own bike before,” said Gregory. “He didn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day.”

Helmets on, the crew started out on their first bike ride. While the ride was fun, the youth couldn’t help but notice all of the trash left along the trail. One youth thought it would be a good idea to volunteer to clean the trail and since the group had been searching for a community service project.

“After researching, we found that we could adopt this trail and clean it every Sunday,” said Gregory.

And that’s exactly what they did. Adopting the trail perfectly combined the boys’ love of the trail with their community service obligation. Now, every Sunday, the Boys Town Central Florida youth in the Showalter home walk the trail, picking up trash and keeping it clean for the other trail walkers and bikers.