Bikes 4 Kids
The owner of Garden City Condo Rentals founded Bikes 4 Kids, a nonprofit organization whose sole purpose is to provide new bicycles for deserving boys and girls on Christmas. This is the story of how it all began.
Message From Our Owner, Kim Schaefer
A Message From Our Owner, Kim Schaefer
Bikes 4 Kids had its beginnings in 2006 in what I can best describe as “a nudge from God.” Spending the majority of my adult time as a business executive, I was feeling that I was losing the child that was inside of me.
I remember telling my wife that the world was stealing my smile. I felt as though I had become an adult and what I now recognize as fun wasn’t nearly the same as it was when I was a kid. I kept telling myself that I had grown up and that’s simply how it was going to be. I’m happy to say…I was wrong!
Here’s where “the nudge from God” comes in… I was shopping at Big Lots. For those who may not recognize the name, it is a closeout store.
It is there that I came across this bicycle. It looked like a motorcycle — like the ones you see on TV shows like Orange County Choppers. It had a huge back tire, a long, low-riding banana type seat, extended forks, and high-rise handlebars. It was very cool!
I stopped and stared at it like a little boy. I’m sure my eyes got big, and what’s’ even greater, I was smiling. At that moment, I experienced the pure and simple joy I could feel when I was a boy. The childhood memories and worry-free good times it brought back of riding my Schwinn Stingray and playing with my friends had given me back my smile!
I was thinking that some kid was really going to like that bike. And something kept telling me to buy it. It was “the nudge.” Well, I didn’t buy it... I walked away.
A week or so later I was back in the store. The bike was still there. I got “the nudge” again — only this time much stronger. So guess what I did? After experiencing all of the same emotions as before… I walked away again.
A couple of weeks went by and the bike kept popping into my mind. I really tried to ignore it…but “the nudge” became more like a push. I said OK… OK, I’ll go to the store and if the bike is still there I’m going to buy it. (At least a month had passed and I doubted it would be there.)
Well, guess what …The bike was there.
The urge to purchase that bike was now so strong that even the issue of trying to explain it when I showed up at home with a bike that looked like a motorcycle didn’t stop me. I bought it and I knew it was right!
I didn’t know what I was going to do with the bike or who I was going to give it to…I just knew it was right and I would figure it out.
Well guess who figured it out? (I’ll give you a hint…It wasn’t me!)
It was two days before Christmas and I couldn’t give the bike away. No one I talked to wanted it. I couldn’t believe it. I jokingly told the story of the bike no one wanted to the owner of a tavern that I frequent. She said, “I know someone who can find a home for that bike.” It turned out that her good friend was the head of the local social services.
Now guess whose plan was coming together! (Another hint…It wasn’t mine!)
The tavern owner’s friend knew exactly where the bike was meant to go…and the perfect home for the bike was located. Making this long story short…Both the mother and child who received the unexpected blessing were touched by God’s hand through the experience. And for me, I once again, had my faith validated and also felt the loving hand of God.
The next year in December of 2007, I had the almost identical, experience. This time it was with a really cool 15-speed bicycle. I got “the nudge” and this time I didn’t fight it….I bought the 15-speed bike!
Then guess what happened…I got nudged again and went back and bought another 15-speed bicycle. I now had two bikes with no plans for who should receive them. I just knew I would find out.
Then, once again, seemingly out of nowhere comes a longtime friend into the path of this plan whose sister is a teacher in Kent, Ohio. She knew of not one…but two deserving kids who were in need of these special gifts for Christmas. Although I never saw the children, I was told that many shared in the blessings of God received through the gift of these bikes.
I have since received “the nudge” again...this time to expand the program through this website.
The plan is to now ask for assistance to supply more Bikes 4 Kids each Christmas in hopes that more families will be touched by God’s hand.
I am looking for people, companies, and organizations that are willing to donate NEW bicycles or have the means to fund the purchase of new Bikes 4 Kids. I am also looking for other volunteers to help me grow the program.
This time I am not ignoring “the nudge.” If you are reading this message and can help... here is what you can do:
Call me at 330-328-7506 or send an email to [email protected] if you have a new bike or a source of new bikes to contribute to the program so I can make arrangements to receive them.
If you wish to make a cash donation to purchase bikes for deserving children, make your check out to “Bikes 4 Kids” and mail it to 640 E. Pioneer Tr. Aurora, Ohio 44202.
I assure you that all proceeds will go toward the purchase of bicycles. If you wish to volunteer to help and live in Northeast Ohio in the Kent-Aurora or Akron-Cleveland area, please contact me at the above number or address.
If you have thoughts or wish to contribute to the program in any other manner, please contact me as well!
We’ll see what next year brings... I expect it will be to expand the Bikes 4 Kids program and for God’s grace to be delivered in ways that I am today unable to see.
Thank you and God bless.