Justin Stimpson knows the difference a bike can make to a middle school student in Cumberland County; it wasn’t so long ago that he was in their shoes. Now a member of the Hampden Sydney College class of 2023, he continued a lifelong passion for helping his community even after he left for college. As a dedicated member of the Cycling Club and Omicron Delta Kappa honor fraternity, he led the “Cares for Kids Taking Flight” program to give back to students in his hometown.
Seeing the challenges facing middle school students today, Justin saw an opportunity for the program to empower middle school students and promote positive behaviors. From pitching the idea to school leadership to gathering support from the Hampden Sydney community, he organized the program to reward Cumberland Middle School students for their hard work with tickets to win a bicycle during an end-of-year raffle. The impact of the program extended beyond the donated bicycles, however. “During the time of running the program, we saw a drop in discipline and uptick in positive behaviors,” said Cumberland Middle School Principal Andrew Hoyt. “Justin timed the program to lead up to SOLs to help students’ focus and to get in the right mindsets to finish out the year.” The end of year pep rally and bike raffle recharged and inspired all students, whether or not they won.
The program’s influence continues beyond rewarding positive behaviors. Students also saw a Cumberland County Public Schools alumni at the head of an exciting, inspiring program and giving back to his community. Justin’s relatability and shared experience of growing up in this rural community demonstrated to the students what strong citizenship and civic engagement can look like after graduation. Justin has always been involved in community service, described as having a persistent “heart and mind towards helping his community.” Through his service, Justin not only makes a difference but also inspires others to find their difference to make as well.
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