(NEWS RELEASE) When Kim Hampton asked her coworkers at Edgecombe Community College for a little help, she said she expected few responses.
Instead, what she got made her realize there’s no shortage of kindness on her campus.
“Transportation for students is our No. 1 problem,” says Hampton, the college’s counselor/student support specialist. “Nine out of 10 students who come to me ask for help with transportation.
“We have a lot of students who walk to school.”
In August, Hampton sent out an email to employees asking for bicycle donations to make it easier for some students to get to classes.
“I expected maybe one; I received three,” she says.
The bikes needed minor repairs, but Hampton didn’t have to worry about that either. Al Carroll, chair/instructor of Automotive Systems Technology, and his students jumped at the chance to help, she says.
One bike was missing a seat, so a student donated one. “Out of the goodness of their hearts, they said they’d take care of the bikes,” Hampton explains. “They really didn’t have time for it, but it was wonderful for those students to do something for other students. They were proud to fix the bikes.”
Jaime Raya, a 23-year-old student who attends classes on Edgecombe Community College’s Rocky Mount campus, received one of the donated bikes.
“Sometimes, I didn’t have the funds to ride the bus, and I’ve had to ask for a ride or for someone to loan me money to get to school,” Raya says. “I’ve even had to walk about 45 minutes to get to class. But, I had to do it, so I am very thankful for the bike.”
Hampton said Raya and Ralph Willis both received bikes this year, and the third bike soon will be ready for another student to ride.
“The students who received the bikes were overjoyed and really, really excited,” Hampton says.
The college offers Tar River Transit bus tokens to students who need transportation to classes, but offering them a bike instead gives them more flexibility and freedom. “It makes it easier for them to get to school,” Hampton says. “And I would rather give them the means than bus tokens.”
She hopes to get more donated bicycles in order to provide additional students with a dependable ride.
Anyone who would like to donate bikes to the college can contact Hampton at 823-5166, ext. 259, or email@example.com.