The garage of Cira Nickerson's Los Altos home is packed, wall-to-wall, with a rainbow of children's bikes in all different sizes. Some have girly pink streamers on the handlebars, and others for boys are orange, blue or fluorescent green.Nickerson decided last December on her 55th birthday that she wanted to buy one bike a week over the next year and donate them to charity. A year later, she has 61 bikes ready to go, and she's set to give them out on her 56th birthday this Sunday. Nickerson, who works as a branch manager at the Palo Alto office of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, said ever since she turned 50, she's spent more time thinking about what each year means. "Every year on my birthday, I spend that very quiet time just going through that set of questions with myself," she said. While she's donated to charities often in the past, she said this year she wanted to do something truly tangible. And for whatever reason, she thought of bicycles. "You think back on your life with a bike," she said. "For me, I can think of so many fun things. I remember having that feeling of going fast, being free, and going somewhere on my own and meeting my friends. A lot of that stuff revolved around getting on a bike." She started with a 26-inch girl's bike in purple. Her plans changed slightly throughout the year — she found a few more families in need, and upped her total to 61. And she eventually started grabbing bikes from Wal-Mart less frequently than once a week — four at a time — because that was as many as she could fit in her car.She bought all of the bikes at Wal-Mart, and joked that none of the staff or security there ever questioned her. "No one ever says, 'What are you doing with all these bikes?'" she said. "I don't know what they think." On Sunday, she'll load the bikes into a U-Haul and drive them to her office's parking lot, where she'll distribute them. Most of the families receiving bikes were nominated through the Head Start preschool program in Mountain View and Help One Child, a Los Altos-based organization that provides support services for about 170 foster families in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Judy Holmes, parent/volunteer coordinator with Help One Child, said the families with her organization were "extremely happy" to hear about the unexpected gift. "There's going to be some very happy children Christmas morning," Holmes said. The organizations gave Nickerson information about the children, so she could buy correctly sized bikes. Each bike has a large tag with the child's name on it. A friend of Nickerson's donated helmets. Nickerson said she's hoping to give the bikes to the parents on Sunday, not to the children themselves, so the children can get them as holiday gifts from their parents. "I don't really care if I'm the face to the child, I'd rather be the face to the family that gives it to the child," she said. Next year Nickerson said she hopes to create a formal organization called "Dream Cycles" to get others involved and give away more bikes.
"I couldn't think of a better way to spend my birthday," Nickerson said. "To see the fruition now of my work, and my donation come to reality on that day, I can't imagine." source
I know it's not political, but it is a nice story about someone giving back. I wanted to share.