KidsCycle: NS in Shorewood, WI

"Love and Lift"
Nominated By Beth Crysdale, Kristin Belkofer, Katherine Gerlach, and Teresa Freding

Named a Finalist Because: This town outside of Milwaukee created a Facebook page to ensure that all of its citizens are looked after.

From the Editors: Many people feel comfortable knowing that if they need to borrow a tool or even a few bucks—or maybe they just need a shoulder to cry on—they can walk a few feet and knock on their neighbor’s door. But in Shorewood, Wisconsin, a Facebook group called KidsCycle: NS has helped residents explode the definition of “neighbor” in surprisingly personal ways. “There are over 6,000 people in this [Facebook] community,” says Kristin Belkofer. “But it feels like we all know one another personally.”

Created in 2014 by Annie Monahan, a former teacher and mother of five young children, KidsCycle: NS started off as a buy-sell-trade page: I’ll sell you my old fish tank for a good price, that sort of thing. The idea was that families in Shorewood, a suburb of 13,000 just north of Milwaukee, could earn spending money while maybe getting to know their fellow Shorewoodians. Then one day, a KidsCycle: NS member received devastating news: her son had been diagnosed with leukemia. Annie did what came naturally and donated her earnings from the page to that family. Soon, others followed her lead. The page filled with pledges of clothes, money, and food, not to mention a mountain of good wishes and prayers. “Come as you are and be who you are” is how Belkofer described KidsCycle: NS in her nomination. “It’s amazing how many connections are made, and I finally feel like I’m a part of a community bigger than myself.”

Bigger indeed. KidsCycle has become a charitable organization—more like a movement, really—devoted to the page’s motto: Love + Lift, with members giving fire victims what they need to rebuild, dropping food off to shelters, writing Valentine’s Day cards for nursing home residents, donating breast milk to a mother with cancer. There are plenty of local online parents’ groups, but few are a community of caring on this scale. “The kindness that has been inspired is unprecedented,” says Amanda Buhrman, a KidsCycle member. “Hoping this inspires others to love and lift across the world!”

Read the nomination from Beth Crysdale, Kristin Belkofer, Katherine Gerlach, and Teresa Freding below to learn more about why KidsCycle: NS might just be the Nicest Place in America.

—The Editors


KidsCycle throws a bouncy house playdate for kids and their families to bond together. (Credit: Beth Crysdale)

At first glance, the KidsCycle: NS Facebook group looks like another buy-sell-trade page you often see popping up all over Facebook, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a place where mothers connect, toys are exchanged and everyone supports one another from finding a child’s favorite lost toy to delivering a cup of coffee to a mother in need. The whole community works to keep it nice, judgement-free, and caring. Come as you are and be who you are. It’s amazing how many connections are made and I finally feel like I’m a part of a community bigger than myself. 


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