The reactions of the elementary students are priceless.
Thanks to a compassionate teacher who works at Pepperidge Elementary in North Charleston, South Carolina, 650 students who come from low-income homes now have bicycles to ride and call their own.
First-grade teacher Katie Blomquist was inspired to supply all students with their own bicycles, helmets, and locks after learning from the young students that most have never had the opportunity to own their own. This is because the area the school is located in has very high rates of poverty.
“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.”
Confident that something good could come from the desire to help the students, Blomquist started a GoFundMe campaign with an ambitious goal of $65,000. After the campaign took off and was widely shared on social media, a total of $80,000 was raised in just a few months. Individuals from all around the country contributed, making the special deed even more memorable.
Each and every bike is custom-made from Radio Flyer, with the phrase “Let’s Go Places!” emblazoned on the frames. Before Blomquist gifted the bicycles, helmets and locks to the students, she said:
“This isn’t a gift from me. This is a gift not only from your local community, but our whole country. 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 that 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.”
Their reaction to the unexpected surprise is heartwarming, to say the least:
Since raising $80K to provide bicycles and accessories to all 650 elementary students, Katie has since started the nonprofit Going Places. The organization is dedicated to providing low-income kids with bicycles, swimming lessons, and summer camp opportunities.
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