Will 650 children at Peppermill Elementary School in South Carolina get new bicycles this holiday season? That’s the goal of teacher Katie Blomquist.
The 1st grade teacher for the elementary school in North Charleston wants to buy bikes, helmets, and locks for every pupil.
“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.
“I soon began to envision how each student’s quality of life could improve if they had more freedom to ride around their neighborhoods. My goal is to provide each student at our school a new bike (with a helmet and bike lock) for Christmas, which, in many cases, may be the only gift they receive during the Holidays.”
The school where Blomquist teaches gets Title 1 funding from the government because a high percentage of children come from poverty-stricken homes.
“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 street with neighborhood kids or strictly watch television.”
Blomquist came up with the idea when she was thinking how to motivate a pupil who didn’t get much support at home. She thought a bicycle for his birthday might help, then expanded the intention to include the entire school.
Many of the donations are the in $5 to $10 range, although some individuals have donated hundreds of dollars. One grandparent challenged other grandparents to donate $5 or $10 per grandchild.
The campaign has received publicity on all of Charleston’s TV stations, as well as the nationally syndicated Steve Harvey Show based in Chicago. Radio Flyer has donated 100 bikes to the project, and GoFundMe itself donated $10,000 in its Back to School contest.
Let’s hope Blomquist reaches her goal and every kid at Peppermill gets a new bike this holiday.