Christmas is officially underway as two local entrepreneurs and mentors teamed up to surprise 50 students in Watts and Inglewood with new bikes and helmets on December 17 and 18.
Matthew Newman, a 32-year-old Inglewood resident and founder of All In Coworking of Inglewood, has been giving back to the community and students for three years through his For the Life of You Mentoring Foundation. Starting in Dallas, his hometown, with just 10 bikes, Newman has grown his philanthropic efforts more than two times over, sharing the joy of holidays and gifting without reason year after year.
“It’s always an honor,” Newman said. “Sometimes the kids don’t feel they deserve it, but it’s up to us, those who have been in their shoes to really emphasize the importance of them receiving something.”
Students were required to submit a persuasive essay under the prompt, “What a new bike will mean to me,” and were handpicked by Newman. His goal of the essay contest was to remind kids to keep education first.
This year, he partnered with DAG Riders Bike Shop, owned by Derald Gaines, to provide new bikes and helmets for the students of Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary School in Watts on Tuesday, and Worthington Elementary School in Inglewood on Wednesday.
Gaines, a Watts native is known for giving back to students who show proof of good grades each semester. “We have to have a concern for our kids; if we don’t help them now, we miss them later,” he says of his efforts to keep kids motivated to do well in school.
“I grew up down the street, it’s just a blessing to be in a position to help others,” Gaines stated, “I’m just thankful.”
Joining Newman and Gaines in their giveaway Tuesday morning was Principal of Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary, Dai Shalon Jordan, Sr. Officer Thomas Langston, Los Angeles Unified School District Police Department and Pastor Michael “Big Mike” Cummings.
“It feels amazing to have our students receive bikes because they’re such a need,” Principal Jordan said. “We absolutely plan on doing this for years and years to make sure our kids have the resources that they need.”
From the foundation to its sponsors, everyone apart of the annual bike giveaway shares the same love of children, community and providing them with resources to help them grow. It’s more than simply a bike giveaway he shares, it’s something they can believe in and to emphasize working for what you deserve as well.
“Being here giving these bikes out, it’s always a dream come true,” Newman There were times where I couldn’t give to myself, so now that I have the ability to not only give to myself in abundance, it’s time to give way more in abundance to those who need it.”
To learn more about For the Life of You Mentoring Foundation visit https://www.forthelifeofyou.org/.