Tampa teacher collects used bikes, fixes & donates them to students

Posted at 5:07 PM, Dec 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-02 17:07:10-05

A Hillsborough County teacher at Potter Elementary School is going beyond teaching in the classroom by collecting gently used bicycles to fix and donate to students at her school. 

Melanie Bolender teaches an ELL class at the school located in the Jackson Heights area.

For the past four years, she has collected bicycles from people she's reached out to in hopes of refurbishing them for students at her school.

"I bring the bikes in just before Christmas, and I call the parents and see if they want to come and get them," she said. 

Bolender said after she gets a bike -- her and her husband work on the project together. 

Bolender has been teaching for 24 years, and she found this was a way to give to kids in the neighborhood who don't have a bike, something she once experienced growing up as well. 

"I want them to have something so they could ride with their friends and they can feel like they belong too," she said. 

With the bikes she's fixing this year, Bolender has collected and donated around 100 bicycles.