Teacher Gifts 650 Free Bikes to Students at Low-Income School After Raising $80G Toward Her Goal
"There were fifth graders that had never ridden a bike, let alone owned one. I don't want any kid to grow up not having that memory," the teacher said.
A South Carolina teacher determined to give a brand new bicycle to every single student at her school a bicycle was met with screams of excitement one morning when she finally reached her goal.
"They were hugging each other, jumping up and down, screaming," first grade teacher Katie Blomquist told InsideEdition.com. "There were some fifth graders who had never even ridden a bike, let alone owned one."
Blomquist teaches at North Charleston’s Pepperhill Elementary, categorized as a Title 1 School where many students come from a lower-income background.
On Thursday morning, all 650 students were gifted a brand new bicycle, the result of months of legwork, arranging deliveries, and raising funds through a successful GoFundMe campaign.
Along with their new bikes, the kids even received free helmets and locks as a part of the big reveal.
“[The bikes] represent so much more,” she explained. “It’s responsibility, it’s ownership over something of value, it’s transportation, it’s exercise, but at the end of the day, it’s that basic joy. I don’t want any kid to grow up not having that memory.”
From teaming up with local bike shop Affordabike, to rallying together volunteers to build the bicycles and deliver them to the school, Blomquist said she was particularly impressed with the community chipping in to make her generous dream come true. "People came together who don’t know me, don’t know our kids, don’t know our school — and they came and helped assemble our bikes."
In total, she raised more than $80,000 over three months through a GoFundMe campaign to purchase 550 bikes at about $100 each. A hundred bikes were donated to her project free of charge.
The remaining money will go toward Blomquist’s new non-profit, Going Places, which she started while organizing the bikes. Through the charity, she plans to bring swimming lessons, camp experiences and Halloween costumes for other students in Title 1 schools.
She explained that the project began when a student asked her to buy a bike for his birthday. Blomquist said she often goes out of her way to spend her own money on her students for special occasions.
"He kept asking me for a bike, and I thought, 'Gosh, I can't afford that,'" Blomquist said in a previous interview with InsideEdition.com. "You assume every kid's grown up with a bike."
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