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The Center Foundation’s ‘Train Your Brain’ program returns with 2,000 free bike helmets for kids

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Prompted by an alarming increase of preventable head injuries among youth, The Center Foundation is proud to announce the return of its annual Train Your Brain program.

Now in its tenth year, this injury prevention program educates more than 2,000 elementary school students in Central Oregon about brain injury prevention and the importance of helmet safety. Train Your Brain is made possible by the support of The Center Foundation’s community partners at First Interstate Bank, Summit Health and BendBroadband.

“According to research from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, almost 400,000 children under age 19 are treated in U.S. emergency departments for bicycle-related injuries each year,” said Sonja Donohue, executive director of The Center Foundation.

“Train Your Brain began 10 years ago in an effort to help reverse this trend here in our Central Oregon community by educating and engaging students in a fun program that they have come to look forward to. We are so grateful to the school districts for recognizing the importance of this safety initiative, and to our partners at First Interstate Bank, Summit Health and BendBroadband for supporting us in reaching our goal to provide free helmets to every local third and fourth grader who needs one.”

Each year, over 1,200 helmets are distributed to local elementary students through the Train Your Brain initiative. This year, that number is expected to double as Train Your Brain will include both third- and fourth-grade students in the Bend-La Pine, Sisters, Crook County, Culver and Jefferson County school districts. This one-year change is due to the cancelation of the program in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

New this year, the program will be delivered virtually to ensure all children in Central Oregon are learning about the importance of helmet safety. The new video presentation is designed for both virtual and in-person classrooms and provides information on injury prevention; helmet safety, fitting and care; and features a melon drop demonstration. With instruction from The Center Foundation, teachers will help deliver and properly fit free multi-sport helmets for every student who needs one.

“Bend-La Pine Schools is very fortunate to once again have The Center Foundation sponsor the Train Your Brain program,” said Skip Offenhauser, Executive Director of Elementary Programs for Bend-La Pine Schools. “As an avid cyclist myself, I am well aware of the hazards we all face while on our bikes. Wearing a helmet is a simple, but effective habit we need to teach all of our students about. We want to thank The Center Foundation for providing these lessons and providing students with free helmets with the help of First Interstate Bank, Summit Health and BendBroadband. We couldn’t ask for better community partners that care about the safety of our kids!”

Train Your Brain 2021 kicks off May 3 to ensure students are prepared to enjoy summer activities in a safe manner. Helmets should always be worn when participating in any non-motorized wheeled sport like bicycling, skateboarding, rollerblading or scooter riding.

To learn more about Train Your Brain, visit

About The Center Foundation
The Center Foundation is celebrating 20 years of providing certified athletic trainers to Central Oregon high schools. Its high school sports medicine program serves more than 5,000 students at over 1,400 sporting events each year, managing injuries and concussions and educating young athletes on injury prevention. These services are provided at no cost to students or their families. Foundation programs also deliver brain and spinal cord injury prevention education in grade schools, free multi-sport helmets to children in need, and education seminars and conferences for healthcare professionals. Since 2000, The Center Foundation has been Central Oregon’s only nonprofit solely dedicated to providing sports medicine services as a means to ensure youth are safe, healthy, and protected in an active lifestyle. To learn more, visit

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