Community Comes Together to Surprise Students with New Bikes
December 20, 2018 - Livermore, CA - In the spirit of the season, a small act of kindness and generosity snowballed into an unprecedented gift of brand new bicycles, locks, and helmets for twenty students at Junction Avenue K-8. On the students’ last day of school before winter break, the front of their school turned into a bicycle course with a firetruck, a police squad car, a trio of motorcycles, and a crowd of smiling faces appreciating the joy they helped spread.
An entire community came forward to contribute to the worthy cause, which started with a conversation between Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District (LVJUSD) Board President Craig Bueno and Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty. Supervisor Haggerty asked Bueno to find one student deserving of a new bike. “I always enjoy partnering with LVJUSD for these special events for students,” remarked Haggerty. “The passion and commitment this district has to take a simple idea, run with it, and turn it into something grand is a great thing to be a part of.”
When Bueno – a retired firefighter – reached out to Scott Canfield, Steward of the Livermore-Pleasanton Firefighters, Local 1974 about the request, they ordered additional bikes and connected Bueno with the Livermore Police Department. Officer Kevin Reynolds, President of the Livermore Police Officers’ Association, was eager to contribute, and soon there were more bikes on the way. The store manager at the local Target heard about how the project was coming together and growing within the community, and pitched in with a gift card toward the purchase of safety helmets.
In a matter of hours, the kindness initiated by Supervisor Haggerty had spread and multiplied many times over through the commitment and generosity of Board President Bueno, police and firefighters, and local businesses to bring joy to twenty young students – many of whom had never owned a new bicycle and had yet to learn to ride. “This is an amazing community and I’m proud to be part of what we’re doing here,” said Bueno.
The firefighters and police officers who attended made the event even more exciting for the students. They ensured each student’s bike was well-adjusted, and they fitted helmets snugly on every head. Some walked alongside students who were just learning to ride. Their presence at the event not only ensured there were enough volunteers to hand out the gifts, but also showed the students how many people in their community cared for them and came together to give them such a special experience.
“I love my new bike!” shouted a girl, excitedly scooting back and forth on her new pink bike with blue streamers, waiting for the adults to finish talking. “I can’t wait to ride it – can we go now?!”