Carmel Valley family donates new bicycles to district families in need through Solana Highlands Care and Share program

By Karen Billing

The Care and Share program at Solana Highlands Elementary School is an annual tradition that helps make the holidays brighter for district families who are less fortunate. Every year, each school classroom adopts a family and students are encouraged to donate what they can to ensure a happy holiday.

For the second year in a row the Fowler girls, mom Catryn and daughters Carolyna and Emily, have made the donation of two shiny new bicycles for the kids.

The girls were inspired by their godfather Eric Jones, who along with Mark McMillin, established BIA Cares, a Builders Industry Association’s bike drive that has provided bikes to more than 6,750 children and 75 charities in San Diego. It has become a Fowler family tradition to help distribute the bikes with BIA Cares and do their own part by purchasing bikes for Care and Share.

“It is very rewarding to know that children who will receive these bikes will most likely remember this holiday season for years to come,” Fowler said.

Carolyna’s fourth grade class at Solana Highlands is one of many sponsoring a family at Solana Vista Elementary School in Solana Beach.

“Solana Vista is very grateful for the ongoing Care and Share partnership that we’ve had with Solana Highlands over the years,” said Solana Vista Principal Lisa Platt. “Each holiday season their families adopt close to 30 of our families in need, providing gifts and good cheer to our neediest children and their parents. The Highlands community goes above and beyond with their thoughtfulness and gift giving, and our families are truly touched by their generosity and goodwill.”

Emily’s school, Solana Pacific Elementary, where she is in sixth grade, is doing something a little different than Care and Share — instead of sponsoring a specific district family they are collecting for a general toy drive for children in southeast San Diego — the Barrio Logan and Logan Heights areas. Fowler said many of the children the drive supports live in shelters, cars or are even homeless.

In addition to the two bikes for Care and Share, Emily also wanted to donate a bike to the Solana Pacific drive.

“The Solana Pacific students’ generous donations may be the only gifts these children get this holiday season,” Fowler said.