Shared from the 1/1/2018 Post & Courier eEdition

Local student collects over 300 bikes for kids in Uganda

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PROVIDED/FULVO PACE

Kids at a small school in South Africa receive some of the bikes from Bikes 4 Humanity.

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Quinn

Sarah Quinn may seem like a typical 12-year-old. The seventh-grader at Porter-Gaud plays volleyball, is in the middle of rehearsing for the school musical “Aladdin Jr.,” and recently took a history test.

But while she was completing that history test, a brigade of large trailers and pickup trucks was approaching the parking lot of Porter-Gaud to deliver used bicycles from Kiawah Island Bike Rentals.

“I saw them out of the corner of my eye and got so excited, but I had to finish my test,” said Sarah, one of the biggest contributors to charitable project Bikes 4 Humanity.

The unique nonprofit program was set up by Porter-Gaud middle school dean Chris Tate in 2014 to support communities in Kenya, Namibia and Uganda by providing children there with bikes. Some of the kids in those locations have to walk 8 miles to school every day, so new bikes would let them commute faster and more safely.

Sarah has partnered with the program for two years now and has collected $1,000 and more than 300 bicycles from people and businesses on Kiawah and Seabrook islands this year.

“It’s not me bringing in all these bikes,” said Sarah, who tries to give a handwritten thank-you note to everyone who donates a bike. “It’s generous donations from generous people.”

But there is no doubt that Sarah is the mastermind and point of contact organizing the collection.

“At one point, we had 60 bikes in our driveway. We got a letter from HOA about that,” she said with a laugh.

“ I a l w a y s look for ways to get our students more involved in service,” Tate said. “I want them to know that one person, even a 12-year-old, can make a difference. I knew this could be an annual, sustainable service project for our middle school students — one with huge impact around the globe — and now it’s great to see it’s growing with community partnerships and expanding to include other Charleston-area middle school students.”

Sarah began her mission by posting flyers around her own neighborhood and asking her family and friends to donate to the cause. In addition, she recruited Kiawah Island Bike Rentals, which offered more than 130 of their old rental bikes. The on-campus delivery had to wait until her history test was over, but then she and other students helped with unloading the bikes and repacking them into a storage container, which was sent overseas on Dec. 15 with 500 bikes and was expected to arrive in Uganda just in time for Christmas.

“It was really cool when all my classmates came out and were all helping,” Quinn said. “It moved so fast and it was amazing to see everyone coming together. It’s taught me about generosity in my own community, as well as the generosity of my schoolmates. I want to continue helping out with Bikes 4 Humanity as long as I’m at Porter-Gaud.”

See this article in the e-Edition Here