When George Bernard Shaw wrote the now infamous phrase “he who can, does; he who cannot, teaches,” he obviously wasn’t thinking about Katie Blomquist.
In March, the then-1st grade teacher made waves by providing bikes to each of the 650 students at her Pepperhill Elementary School in South Carolina. It was the culmination of 6 months of hard work and GoFundMe campaigning which ultimately yielded more than $80k in donations.
Now Katie is taking things a step further, officially turning her passion project into a full-time job. On Saturday, June 10th, she’ll officially launch her nonprofit organization Going Places. The group’s goal is to provide underprivileged children in Charleston County with “the most basic childhood right – the right to joy.”
“A bike provides a sense of freedom and basic, untainted childhood joy,” says Katie via the Going Places mission statement. “We all have these accumulated memories of [experiences] like riding a bike, and I think we just take for granted that everyone else has them, too.”
By offering kids from low-income households their own brand new, high quality bicycles, she hopes not only to encourage them to have fun, but to help them embrace the pride that comes from personal ownership as well.
And just what kind of bikes will the children of Charleston be owning? To answer this, you have to get to know one of the county’s most unique bike shops: Affordabike.
Established in 2009 on the premise that “bikes are too expensive,” the community-oriented team at Affordabike paired up with Katie to design custom rides for her Pepperhill Elementary students. It’s part of an in-house program they’ve dubbed Builda Bike, allowing customers to choose the frame, parts, and colors that best suit their needs. And so far, the results have been stellar.
If past is prologue, Going Places’ outreach efforts will only grow from here. Their GoFundMe page has already received close to 40% of their targeted $100k, and Saturday’s launch party/fundraiser is expected to put them significantly closer to that goal. If you’d like to join Katie on this inspiring project, you can visit the Going Places website here or simply make a direct contribution to the cause.
After all, history is always in need of a little revision. Why not help correct Mr. Shaw’s centuries’ old logic and prove to the children of South Carolina that “those who teach, in fact, do.”