Larkspur’s Corporate Visions teamed up with Marin City group Performing Stars to deliver deserving elementary school students new bicycles during a family biking workshop over the weekend.
To receive the bikes Bayside Martin Luther King Jr. Academy second, third and fourth-grade students were asked to write letters explaining why they should be given a new bike, said Felecia Gaston, founder of Performing Stars of Marin.
“Corporate Visions purchased the bikes and employees put the bikes together at a hotel in Napa for a team building experiences,” Gaston said.
The bikes come from San Jose-based TurningWheels For Kids that holds bicycle-assembling corporate team building activities and encourages cycling as a way to improve health and well-being for low-income families.
Even with an abundance of electronic devices and available technology, bikes are still the most requested gift item said TurningWheels For Kids’ Robyn Bartkowski.
“There is something special about a bike and the freedom that a bike gives children,” Bartkowski said.
When the bike recipients become involved, the corporate bike building events come full circle, and the adults can see what a bike means to a child.
“They are able to see the reaction of how important these bikes are to these kids,” she said. “It is just incredible impact. It so much more than just building a bike it is building bike.”
Charlotte Kobayashi from Corporate Visions said 125 employees from around the globe gathered in Napa to the company’s kick off to learn about the enterprise.
“We had no idea what were doing. First we had to do a scavenger hunt to find 100 different items to bring to Robyn, who was running the event,” Kobayashi said. “It was a team effort to put the bicycles together and some of us had never done it before.”
The employees took about an hour to put the bikes together, some consulting the web for instruction, then went back inside to continue the conference. Hours later the company returned outside and were only told a special visitor was coming.
“Nine children from Marin City came walking in with Felecia,” Kobayashi said. “We were kind of baffled until Felicia said the bicycles were built for these children and they were going to take them back to Marin City for students who deserved them.”
Corporate Visions founder Joe Terry said the bike building was more meaningful than donating money or serving food in a food bank.
“Building the bikes it is an activity you are actually building something, creating something that you are going to the give back to the community,” Terry said.
The bicycles were taken to Marin City for the Feb. 14 family biking workshop that grew to include safe instruction from Marin County’s Safe Routes to Schools staff. Instructors helped fit bike helmets and conducted bike handling skills drills.
The Marin County Sheriff’s Department, Deputy Sheriff’s Association, offered to register all of the new bikes, and Sausalito’s Mikes Bikes provided locks for the new bikes.