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12-year-old Samantha Jeronimo helps students fix bikes in Bike Doctors program

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Posted at 5:30 AM, Dec 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-16 18:04:28-05

BALTIMORE — "That’s one of the first things we teach the kids, the ABC’s of bikes," said 12-year-old Samantha Jeronimo. "Check your air, A. Check your brakes, B and check your chains, C."

Jeronimo is a student coordinator with the Bike Doctors program at Graceland Park-O'Donnell Heights Elementary and Middle School, which teaches kids how to repair bicycles.

"You are the doctor, the bike is your patient. You usually get to name your bike and you get to fix it, work on it and when you’re done you get to take it home," she said.

Jeronimo started with the program last year as a participant with her cousin, right after she started to learn how to ride a bike.

"We enjoyed it, we paid attention, we tried to get as much information as we could," she said.

Several Baltimore city schools have the Bike Doctors program. Students fix up and customize donated bikes that they can then take home for free. They also learn about bike safety, bike maintenance and ride on bike courses.

Gary Holifield, a retired corporal with Baltimore police and one of the organizers of Bike Doctors, noticed Jeronimo's tenacity and proficiency in working with students and the bikes. That's when he asked her if she would be a student coordinator.

"Samantha was just like a little plant she blossomed, she grew, she took charge, she comes up with some really good ideas," he said. "She mentors other students, this isn’t just about Samantha. She works with the other students, she encourages them and that’s all that you can want."

Jeronimo said the best part is seeing how the kids react once they take home their bikes.

"Its very fun because I enjoy teaching, I enjoy working with kids, just seeing their faces light up. I’m really grateful for the opportunity and I try to take in as much as I can, because it's truly delightful."

Holifield said they could always use donations of adult-sized helmets to give to the kids once they get to take their bikes home. To donate or learn other ways to help the Bike Doctors program, email Holifield at