Student Profile : Pacific, Community Help One Special Boy Get a Bicycle
For the safety and security of the family, the name of the helped individual has been omitted from the article.
I love riding my bicycle on the levee on my way to classes at UOP. The scenery is nice. The weather is usually great. I love the fact that bicycling can contribute to less pollution. What did it take for me to have this appreciation? Good mentors and role models. I’d hope this story helps provide opportunities for others to become the kind of mentors I relied on in my early years.
One recent afternoon, I was riding my bike to school and rode past an 8-year-old boy. As I passed him, he waved at me and smiled; I waved back. I could tell he was coming from school and was on his way home. I knew he was a student who attends Peyton Elementary School like my daughter. Immediately after passing him, I met an individual who tried to offer me drugs. I declined, then realized that the 8-year-old would have to pass by him. I waited and watched the boy to make sure he wouldn’t be pressured by the loiterer. Two days later, we were in the same situation and I, again, watched over the boy and made sure he didn’t get involved with the individual, especially since he had about a good three miles until he would reach his home. The levees aren’t the safest places.
The following evening, I attended an event sponsored by the UOP Council for Social Entrepreneurs called “Peace Feast.” As an International Business student, my Business Law professor, Dr. Laurie Lichter-Heath, encouraged me to attend the “Peace Feast.” Many speakers gave their interpretations of the meaning of “peace”. One of them, Deacon Stephen Bentley, from the St John the Evangelist Episcopal Church in downtown Stockton, spoke to us about how he brings peace through servicing and providing bicycles to those in need through a local chapter of a group called Helping Urban Bicyclists (HUB). A light bulb immediately popped into my head as I put two and two together.
I thought, “What if I could get a bike for this 8-year-old boy?” He could then simply ride passed the shady individuals and at the same time decrease his chances of him being exposed to drugs.
I knew I could talk to Bentley to help this young man out. I contacted Sherry Jackson, principal of Peyton Elementary and Bentley. Principal Jackson was glad that we were thinking of this young man because he and his family aren’t financially secure. In fact, she had helped out this young man with purchasing a pair of shoes for him just the week prior.
Afterwards, I thought about how the UOP Police Department had helped me. The officers had caught someone who had tried to steal my bike at one point so I decided to reach out to them. I met with Sergeant Pete Bernardino who was very eager to help, and only asking when the department would need to provide a donated bike. I thought the department could donate a bike that was never acclaimed by a student. After arranging to get a bicycle from Public Safety, we set up how best to deliver it.
It was decided to give the boy his new bike at his school. The following Monday morning, Deacon Bentley, Sgt. Bernardino, classmate Josh Fournier, and I met with Principal Jackson. Sgt. Bernardino took it upon himself to donate a helmet with UOP’s colors and a bike lock for him. We all told him that the bicycle and accessories were a reward for his courage to say no to drugs and for being such a special individual. It was a complete surprise to him. He was truly appreciative of his gift.
At a time where there seems to be less unity in our community, it felt great seeing this nice young man give a big hug to Bentley and Sgt. Bernardino when he received the bike. This young man brought together members of our community from his school, a church, our university and the police department. It made me realize that community involvement can truly make anything possible.
Bentley and Sgt. Bernardino decided to stay in touch to find ways of helping others as they did in this instance. Deacon Bentley suggested donating bike repair kits. He holds events, like the one HUB held on October 22, where they help fix bicycles for people who use bikes as their main form of transportation. Both of these fine gentleman deserve recognition for what they do day in and day out to help others in need. The Principal at Peyton Elementary is truly deserving of being labeled a “Princi-Pal”, as she is always so willing to go all out in helping her students.
So what happens now? As for the University of the Pacific, educators, like Dr. Lichter-Heath and Dr. Cecilia Ruvalcaba, students, such as our esteemed Business & Marketing students, can help promoting and practicing social responsibility within the communities. We need to continue to find ways to be involved in local issues, especially when it means that we may have to donate time for a good cause. School organizations, like the Council for Social Entrepreneurs, continue their efforts in bringing peace and allow us all to show our own interpretations of peace.
Latest posts by Genaro Rico (see all)
- Student Profile : Pacific, Community Help One Special Boy Get a Bicycle - November 6, 2016