Meet the Kindhearted Teacher Raising Money to Buy Bicycles for Entire School
Lifestyle| | By Margo Gothelf
Thanks to one teacher in South Carolina, a bunch of students will soon have a new way of getting around.
Before Christmas, first grade teacher Katie Blomquist hopes to raise enough money to buy 650 bicycles for the students at Pepperhill Elementary School in North Charleston, South Carolina.
“I literally think about it everyday in my classroom, telling these kids that they’re going to get a new bike and how much they’re going to freak out,” Blomquist shared with ABC News. “In my mind, that’s why I wanted to do Christmas because I thought it’d be the best gift.”
Many of the students who attend Pepperhill Elementary School come from low-income families. The school, which is a Title 1 school, also receives extra funding from the state.
“One hundred percent [of the kids] get free breakfast and free lunch. It’s a high-need school and many of our students work very hard, but unfortunately are unable to have the basic childhood needs like a bike,” Blomquist explained. “The bike, it’s a pure, simple, childhood joy. I don’t want them to miss out on that.”
Blomquist first came up with the idea for the bicycles after she found out a student in her class didn’t have a bike to call his own.
“His home life wasn’t the best and I decided to start bonding with him and make him understand that there are lots of reasons to be a motivated student and why it’s important,” she shared. “I decided to take him out for his birthday to Walmart to get him some toys and he kept begging me for a bike. I said, ‘I can’t afford a bike, but I would if I could.'”
After the outing, she discovered that the boy’s brother didn’t have his own bike as well. Blomquist then created a GoFundMe campaign hoping to raise money to buy bikes for all of the students at the school.
The page, which she named “Every Kid Deserves a Bike!” was a hit. Out of her $65,000 goal, Blomquist has already raised over $34,000. If the full amount is collected, “she hopes to use the money to purchase bicycles for all 650 students from preschool to fifth grade,” shared Good Morning America.
“I’m just so thrilled that she’s doing this project,” Tanya Underwood, the principal of Pepperhill Elementary, said. “She does more than teach every day. I love that she’s doing this for the whole school and not just her classroom. It just shows how much she loves her community.”
When Blomquist reaches her goal, “Affordabike Bicycle Shop in Charleston offered to make the 650 custom bicycles with each child’s name,” Good Morning America explained.
Blomquist is hoping for many more donations from companies like Huffy or Schwinn.
“I’d love to get as many donations as I could — bikes, locks, helmets,” Blomquist said. “I’ll postpone the date until every child in the school could receive a bike. Instead of the best Christmas ever, it’d be the best end-of-the-year gift. Until every child gets a bike, I’m not going to stop.”
Check out Blomquist’s GoFundMe page here.