Students of North Charleston’s Pepperhill Elementary School could not contain their excitement upon seeing their new custom-made bicycles as soon as the P.E. class tarpaulins went up.
The new bikes were purchased after first-grade teacher Katie Blomquist raised enough money to cover bikes and helmets for each of the 650 students at Pepperhill.
In September 2016, Blomquist started a GoFundMe page entitled “Every Kid Deserves a Bike” and set a $65,000 goal so she can afford to provide bicycles for each student.
It all started last year when one of her students was celebrating his birthday. She recalled that he mentioned how much he wanted to have a bike for his birthday but because of poverty, his parents could not afford one.
She could not afford to buy a bicycle for the boy so she thought of raising money. But then, she thought about the other students in the school so she included them in her plan.
“I started thinking about all the other kids who might not have bikes. I don’t want to leave anybody out. We take a lot for granted and we forget that there’s a large category of kids out there who don’t have bikes,” she told Today.
The fund drive raised more than $82,000 within three months.
Aside from the campaign donations, several other sponsors contributed to the cause. Radio Flyer donated 100-big-wheel tricycles for the pre-school students while a local business, Affordabike, donated bike locks and bells. Affordabike also helped Blomquist customize the remaining 550 bicycles which they decorated with texts which say, “Let’s go places”, and “The Future”.
Blomquist fund drive did not only buy bikes for the students, it also won $10,000 from a GoFundMe contest for the school. The money will be used for the teachers’ professional development.
Blomquist hard work paid off as she witnessed the children’s reaction to their new bikes and as the parents hugged her as they picked up the bikes.
“I just thought that it would be a nice thing to do. Then things started rolling. It was first local, and then, it became this country-wide thing. All these people who don’t know our kids, who don’t know our school, gave their hard earned money. It was actual people’s dollars,” Blomquist said.