Her inspiration: Every kid deserves a bike -- even those who can't afford one.
First-grade teacher Katie Blomquist came up with the idea after one of her students told her that he wanted a bicycle for his birthday, but his grandmother, who was raising him, could not afford to buy him one. The North Charleston school serves a low-income population.
“Then I started thinking of the other kids,” she told KTVU Fox2.
Some of her fondest memories from childhood involved riding her bike around her California neighborhood, and Blomquist wanted to make that experience possible for all of the kids at her school.
Blomquist started a GoFundMe campaign, which she called “Every Kid Deserves a Bike.”
“Every child deserves to have a bike, but, unfortunately, not every child has the opportunity to receive one,” Blomquist wrote. “I soon began to envision how each student’s quality of life could improve if they had more freedom to ride around their neighborhoods,” she said.
Within seven months, the community, and the nation (she appeared on Steve Harvey’s TV talk show to talk about her fundraising campaign) responded generously with $80,000 in donations.
Yesterday, dreams came true for all of the children at Pepperhill Elementary School.
The children screamed with joy as teachers and volunteers unveiled the gleaming 550 custom-built bicycles and 100 tricycles, reported The Post and Courier.
Blomquist, who left a corporate job to in marketing to become a teacher, was inspired to start a nonprofit, which she called, “Going Places,” with a mission of “spread(ing) this joy as much as possible,” she told The Post and Courier.
“I never ever in a million years thought I would be someone — I get so emotional talking about this all the time — I never thought I would be someone who could actually make a difference or make a change,” she said. “I just thought this would be a nice thing to do. I had no idea that this is what it was gonna turn into.”