GSF Foundation Volunteers Build and Donate Nearly 400 Children’s Bikes
This spring and summer, GSF associates across the U.S. have teamed up with local nonprofits and schools to donate brand new bikes to children in need. A total of 11 local teams participated in the GSF Foundation’s Bike Build program, with 394 bicycles donated to youth in the communities where associates live and work. In addition to bikes, the children get helmets, locks, and an opportunity to spend time building their own two-wheeler with GSFF volunteers and community partners.
"It was great to get back out there and volunteer in person with the kids this year," said Vanessa Hugon, GSF Foundation’s Program and Development Specialist. "Not only do these children take home a fully assembled bike, but they also learn how to build it themselves with a GSFF mentor who teaches them new skills, demonstrating the importance of hard work and boosting their self-confidence."
This year, Vanessa and the Irvine, California GSFF team volunteered to be a "big for the day,” building 35 bikes with children on the waitlist for Orange County’s Big Brothers Big Sisters mentorship program. As a Big Sister who already mentors a Little Sister, Vanessa inspired fellow associates to partner with the local nonprofit on the Foundation’s Bike Build for the first time this year. The Irvine volunteers invited officers from the Santa Ana Police Department to support the event with helmet fittings and a bike safety obstacle course for the kids.
“[One child] recently had his bike stolen and didn’t know he was attending the Bike Build, [as] his mom kept it a surprise,” said Bianca Carranco, Director of Development, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County. “The joy on his face when he found out he was getting a new bike and then watching him ride through the parking lot was THE highlight for me!”
Collaborating with community partners that associates select and engage locally, each GSFF committee coordinates core Foundation programs like the Bike Build in a way that best meets the needs of children and families in their area.For example, GSF’s Conyers, Georgia team planned a family-friendly “bike rodeo” event and donated 27 bikes to kids at the Covington Family YMCA.
Donating 15 bikes this year, the newly established GSFF team from QCD Chicago West jump-started their community involvement at their first Bike Build event in partnership with the Romeoville Police Department. Local fire and police attended QCD Charlotte’s Bike Build day, which included Chick-fil-A meals, face painting, a bounce house, and a donation of 40 bikes benefitting kids at Boys & Girls Club of Cabarrus County. GSF volunteers from the City of Industry Manufacturing facility donated 36 bikes to Boys & Girls Club of La Puente during an event with their local sheriff’s department in attendance.
At the QCD Denver distribution center, associates held a bike-building event and donated 40 bikes through their partnership with HopeKids, an organization supporting families who have children with life-threatening medical conditions. QCD Kansas City also built bikes at their facility for 20 children through a partnership with KidsTLC, an organization providing kids with mental/behavioral health services.
In Texas, three facility teams are supporting schools in their communities with bike donations. GSF Burleson built 100 bikes for children this year, while QCD Frisco plans to assemble 61 bikes this summer. Through another GSFF program, Pedal to Perfection, QCD San Antonio donated 20 bikes to local students who achieved near-perfect school attendance. Additionally, the company’s St. Louis-based GSFF volunteers have teamed up with a truck leasing vendor to make bike donations this summer for local kids.
Since the Foundation's inception in 2002, GSFF volunteers have donated over 8,600 bikes to children. As a core Foundation program, the Bike Build aims to provide school-aged children with the opportunity to learn about safety, while instilling fundamental life skills as volunteers coach them through building a bike. To a child in need, a bike represents freedom and helps develop their sense of adventure. These donations also enable children to make healthy choices through regular physical activity.