Thanks to a joint project with Old Navy, San Francisco Urban Riders, and Variety Children's Charity, 120 students from Playworks' Cleveland Elementary School now have shiny new bikes. The bikes were donated and built by Old Navy employees who gathered at the downtown San Francisco Hilton for their annual conference.
Playworks San Francisco Executive Director Ellen Goodman has been orchestrating bike builds in the Bay Area for the last few years. Old Navy contacted her inquiring how they might be able to produce a build for their meeting. She presented the concept of bringing recess to their meeting as way of building bikes. The idea fit into their playful corporate style and they decided to move forward with the project.
Playworks set up a "kids zone" in the hotel while they built bikes. Unknown to the 465 Old Navy bike builders, about 12o students from San Francisco's Cleveland Elementary School, along with about 25 parents and volunteers, and a dozen Playworks staff and Americorps members were playing switch and four square in a nearby meeting room.
After the build, all 120 kids entered the hotel ballrom to receive their bikes. They entered the ballroom where brand-new bikes lined the walls and surprised the Old Navy employees, who began clapping and cheering. A flurry of emotions, there was not a dry eye in the house as kids (many of whom never had owned a bike before) were paired with sparkling new bicycles, helmets, and locks.
The next day Cleveland parent Anna Marie said, "It was a special event yesterday, no one has ever given my kid anything. Look how happy he is!"
Teachers told us they saw many of the kids riding their bikes to school the very next day.