In May of 2017 each of the 650 low-income students at Pepperidge Elementary in North Charleston, South Carolina received a new bike, helmet, and bike lock thanks to the work of Katie Blomquist, a first-grade teacher.
In an interview with national media, she explained how the idea developed: “Over the years, after talking with students, I have come to the realization many have never ridden a bike nor do they have the means to own a bike, especially one that is new,” said Katie. “I soon began to envision how each student’s quality of life could improve if they had more freedom to ride around their neighborhoods.”
Last September, Blomquist started a campaign on GoFundMe entitled “Every Kid Deserves A Bike!” In her GoFundMe campaign, she wrote the following: “I see directly the struggles and the difficult hands in life some children are dealt. Many do not have the chance to visit places outside their immediate community or have a variety of experiences over weekends and the summer; rather, many children solely play on their own street with neighborhood kids or strictly watch television.” The campaign had a goal of $65,000. After several months, it had raised $80,000.
In May of 2017, the children received their bicycles, custom-made by Radio Flyer. “Let’s go places!” was emblazoned on each frame.
“This isn’t a gift from me. This is a gift not only from your local community but our whole country,” said Blomquist before she revealed the bikes, according to Post and Courier. “One day when you’re a grown-up and you’re looking back on this day, I want you to really think about that and think about the joy and happiness these strangers gave to you, and I hope that you in turn one day find a way to give back some sort of happiness and joy to other people because of this day.”
—By Karen Centowski
To watch a video about the GoFundMe campaign, go to Teacher Launches a GoFundMe campaign for her students—YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgrg-WjnqQs.