Sometimes I am reminded why a gift doesn’t have to be big to make a big impact.
Each year, Colorado has a ‘Bike to Work Day’ and ‘Bike to School Day.’ These special events promote everything from health and wellness to environmental concerns to self-sufficiency.
At one of the schools they fully promoted ‘Bike to School Day’ and discovered a troubling reality.
Out of 900 students, only 4 showed up with a bike.
When I learned this it really made me think about how to help. First, we learned that at least 30 more wanted to participate, but they had no bikes. We started doing some research, which led to a meeting with ‘Wish for Wheels,’ a nonprofit foundation whose mission is to give as many kids as possible brand new bikes and helmets.
Wish For Wheels brings communities together, gives many of us the opportunity to give back, and most important puts a whole lot of smiles on a whole lot of faces.
According to the organization, 1 in 5 children in the Denver Metro area lives in poverty and for them, a bike is a dream. The school, our foundation, and Wish for Wheels then came up with a plan that volunteer teachers could build bikes at the beginning of the school year for the students who wanted bikes. The school sought out and received a grant to purchase every second grader in the school a bike. Wow!
This was a three-part win. Wish for Wheels serves its mission, the teachers bond while building 60 bikes, and most importantly, the students get the bikes they want from a teacher who will then be with them for the year. Their principal is working on other programs to take this to the next level in physical education and health classes, so the grant keeps giving.
In the great scheme of things this is a small program, not something that deals with life-or-death issues. But it does so much in promoting safety, in giving students not only transportation but also pride of ownership, and in providing a new way for teachers to invest in their students.
This is an example of something you could do in your own neighborhood. The bikes we bought cost $100 each, and if that is within your reach as a donor, it’s the kind of investment that brings a lot of immediate joy.
Like what you hear? Pick up a copy of Every Gift Matters: How Your Passion Can Change the World, now available at Amazon.