> With the support of Greater Grand Rapids Safe Kids, area schools and libraries, local police departments and numerous businesses and sponsors, the Put A Lid On It (PALOI) program aims to reduce the occurrence and severity of head injuries among children through a three-tiered approach involving prevention, education and reinforcement.
> Prevention - The Griffins have made a donation to Safe Kids to provide for the purchase of over 125 bike helmets, which will be distributed to underprivileged children through bike rodeos and other Safe Kids programs and events.
> Education - Four thousand PALOI posters have been distributed throughout the Grand Rapids metro area, featuring Griffins players Michel Picard and Nathan Robinson, a Grand Rapids bicycle officer and firefighter, and seven children representing the activities of bicycling, skateboarding, in-line skating, scooter riding, snowboarding and ice hockey. Inviting children to "Be Like The Pros," the posters encourage them to "Use Your Head…Put A Lid On It!"
> Through partnerships with the Grand Rapids Public Schools, Grand Rapids Christian Schools and the Kent Intermediate School District, these posters have been displayed in elementary and middle school classrooms and distributed to students throughout our community. DeVos Children’s Hospital, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital , The Center for Physical Rehabilitation, Michigan Medical (MMPC) Pediatrics and 16 Grand Rapids neighborhood associations have also joined the distribution effort.
> In addition, kids and parents can pick up free copies of the poster at all branches of the Grand Rapids Public Library, the Kent District Library and the Greater Grand Rapids YMCA, as well as numerous local bike shops, skate shops, sporting goods stores, recreation centers and ice rinks. A complete list of participating businesses follows at the end of this story.
> Reinforcement - Police officers in Grand Rapids , Kentwood , Grandville and Kent County are coordinating a ticketing program to reward helmet usage. While on patrol or during neighborhood festivals, parades and other events, officers "pull over" kids who are wearing their helmets and give them a "ticket," which is actually a voucher redeemable for one free ticket to a 2004-05 Griffins game. A total of 600 vouchers will be distributed through the ticketing program this summer.
>"All too often in the news, we hear about children who are seriously injured or killed when they are involved in a bike accident," said Randy Cleves, director of media relations for the Griffins and founder of the PALOI program. "Many of these head and brain injuries can be prevented, or the severity of them lessened, simply by wearing a helmet.
>"Our players, as well as many public service professionals, wear helmets in the daily course of their occupation, so what better role models to encourage kids to do the same while bicycling and enjoying other outdoor activities," said Cleves .
> According to results of a survey commissioned by the National Safe Kids Campaign that were released on May 12, only 41 percent of children age 5 to 14 wear helmets while bicycling. The need for greater helmet usage among kids is highlighted by a report from the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, which states that about half of the 800 bicyclists who die as a result of accidents each year in the United States are children under 15 years old.
> The helmet purchase, poster printing and ticketing program were made possible in part by the contributions of official PALOI sponsors Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Centennial Securities Company, Fuel Systems, Regal Financial Group and RE/ MAX of Grand Rapids - Dan Rabourn.
> PALOI posters are currently available at over 50 locations throughout greater Grand Rapids, including:
- > Alger Schwinn Cycling & Fitness 120 28th St. SW Wyoming
- > Alpine Cyclery & Fitness 4640 West River Dr. NE Comstock Park
- > Bill & Paul's Sporthaus 1200 E. Paris SE Grand Rapids
- > Chicago Drive Cycling & Fitness 4300 Chicago Dr. SW Grandville
- > Cycle Therapy 411 Wilson NW Walker
- > Dunham's 4297 Plainfield NE Plainfield Township
- > Dunham's 3524 East Mall Dr. SE Grand Rapids
- > Freewheeler Bike Shop 915 Leonard St. NW Grand Rapids
- > Gander Mountain 4655 Canal Ave. SW Grandville
- > Gander Mountain 2890 Acquest SE Kentwood
- > Grand Rapids Griffins 130 W. Fulton Grand Rapids
- > Grand Rapids Public Library All 8 branches
- > Greater Grand Rapids YMCA All 7 branches
- > Griff’s IceHouse 30 Coldbrook NE Grand Rapids
- > Kent District Library All 18 branches
- > Kentwood Cycling & Fitness 2830 East Paris SE Kentwood
- > MC Sports 3160 28th St. SE Grand Rapids
- > MC Sports 1005 Rogers Plaza Wyoming
- > MC Sports 4830 Wilson SW Grandville
- > MC Sports 3150 Plainfield Ave. NE Grand Rapids
- > Modern Skate & Surf 3665 28th St. SE Grand Rapids
- > Play It Again Sports 3734 28th St. SE Kentwood
- > Premier Skateboarding 909 Cherry SE Grand Rapids
- > Rivertown Sports 2605 Sanford Ave. SW Grandville
- > Skate Shop 4640 West River Dr. NE Comstock Park
- > Standard Federal Ice Center 2550 Patterson Ave. SE Grand Rapids
- > Village Bike Shop 4252 Kalamazoo SE Kentwood
- > Walker Ice & Fitness Center 4151 Remembrance Rd. NW Walker
- > Wind Waves & Wheels 3624 29th St. SE Grand Rapids