Teacher Determined to Raise $65G to Buy Every Student at Her School a Bicycle by Christmas
This South Carolina elementary school teacher is determined to raise $65,000 to buy every student at her school a bicycle for Christmas, and she's not giving up until she does.
Katie Blomquist teaches first grade at the Pepperhill Elementary school in North Charleston.
Because the school is located in a lower income neighborhood, Blomquist told InsideEdition.com that all of her students receive a free breakfast and lunch courtesy of the district.
"Unfortunately it's the area they live in," Blomquist said. "It's a low income area, and it's a rougher area."
As a result, Blomquist said she often uses her own money to buy extra things for her students, including rewards for good grades, fun learning games and weekend activities.
For one of her students' birthdays, she took him to Walmart to pick out a present.
"He kept asking me for a bike, and I thought 'Gosh, I can't afford that,'" Blomquist said. "You assume every kid's grown up with a bike before, but there are literally five bikes that are ridden to school every day."
The boy's wish to one day own a bicycle stayed with her. She then realized that every student at her school probably had the same dream of owning a bicycle.
"It's freedom," she said. "Just to ride your bike and clear your mind. You peddle so fast, and you get out anxiety and anger and just feel the wind of your face. There's just a sense of freedom with that. I couldn't think of anything else that'll provide that."
She also thought of a kindergarten student who walks 30 minutes to and from school every day, uphill.
That's when she set out on her quest to gift every single student at her school a bicycle.
"I wanted it to be the best Christmas gift ever," she said. "A lot of kids don't get Christmas gifts, [so] that'll be a Christmas gift they'll never forget."
She reached out to local bike shop, Affordabike, which offered to sell her 650 bikes, one for each student at her school, at a discounted rate. They also told her she would be able to design custom bikes for her students.
"We're going to name them 'The Future' and put the slogan, 'Oh, the places you'll go,' on them," she said.
But, to purchase the bikes, she would have to come up with $65,000.
That's when she decided to start a GoFundMe campaign in order to reach her goal.
"I'm not going to give up until every child gets a bike," she said. "If we have to change it from the best Christmas gift ever to the best end of the year gift ever, that's what we'll do. Every kid at this school deserves the bike."
Different companies have since come forward with bicycle donations, which she plans to pass on to other Title 1 elementary schools if she reaches her goal.
While Blomquist is still working hard to reach her goal through crowdfunding efforts, she was able to win $10,000 for the elementary school that will go toward hiring substitute teachers and other qualified staff to help students with reading and math.