My Perfect Christmas: Build a Couple Hundred Bikes
By: John Parsons
For the past few years Common Ground has partnered with Bikes For Kids to get bicycles in the hands of some very deserving children at our adopted schools. This year Bancroft and Rancho Elementary Schools were the recipients. Over forty Common Ground volunteers spent two evenings building these bikes and preparing the stage to surprise the third-graders the next day.
This all started four years ago when Dr. Lois DeKock, then principal at Bancroft, was seated next to a man on a flight to Texas who told her of his organization to get bikes to kids who otherwise might not ever get one. Mr. Bill, as he is known, said that he was from a poor family and that as a child his one big memory was getting his first bike from his brother... at age sixteen. He feels strongly that the thrill of getting a bike on Christmas should happen in one’s life long before high school age. She shared that she was principal of a school in Spring Valley that had partnered with an organization called Common Ground. Contact information was shared and they both went their separate ways. That December Dr. DeKock got a call from Mr. Bill. Bancroft had been chosen to receive 100 bikes, enough for each and every one of their third-graders. Her first call was to Common Ground. She had 100 bikes to assemble in one night. She called the right people.
Forty volunteers putting together bicycles is truly a sight to see. Christmas music playing in the background, the clanking of wrenches, and the laughter of the participants as they recall Christmas Eve’s past doing the same thing in their garages, is now the new sound of Christmas to me. This coupled with the children receiving their bikes the next morning are a big part of my perfect Christmas.