Seabrook Island residents Chris and Betsy Quinn are raising an amazing daughter. Sarah Quinn may only be 13 years old but she is already making a difference in her community and the world. When she was 9, Sarah joined the Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol with her parents. She continues to be an active and contributing member, but her main focus is the Bicycles for Humanity (B4H) Program in which she became involved when she was 11. Her school is Porter Gaud and one of the teachers there began a chapter called B4H Charleston, which is part of an international organization that collects used bikes to be sent to Africa.
She immediately joined and volunteered to collect bikes from Seabrook and Kiawah. That was her main job in the beginning and two years later remains her focus. This has turned into a very large undertaking and with her parents’ support and assistance, Sarah has collected almost 500 bikes from our residents and several local bike rental services.
The bikes that are collected (and they will take them in any condition) are taken to Porter Gaud and broken down into a smaller size and the parts are held together with twist ties so each individual bike can be reassembled. This is a huge undertaking and the group holds a “break down day” and all hands are on deck to help. Charleston Day School sends a busload of students to aid the Porter Gaud students. The bikes are loaded into a used shipping container that the group has purchased and then sent to a community in Africa. The recipients are selected with help from the Bikes for Humanity board of students at Porter Gaud. These are villages whose names are provided by the national organization and are communities that have asked for these bikes.
When the bikes reach the selected village, the shipping container becomes a bike shop and members of the village reassemble the bikes which are used for schoolchildren to ride to school instead of making the 7 or 8-mile walk to the nearest school. Women use the bikes to get to the water source and to bring the water back home. Health workers use them to visit more patients. The people who run the bike shop use the parts from old bikes to repair the bikes in use when they break down.
The B4H Porter Gaud Board also engages in fundraising so that they can purchase shipping containers and pay for the transport to Africa. Sarah has raised over $3,500 which includes funding from a grant that she wrote to help with this project.
Sarah’s favorite new word is “tangible” which she says describes this program. It isn’t just sending money, but allowing people to help them live a better life. She plans on staying with the program until she finishes Porter Gaud and will continue collecting bikes and helping to raise funds. If you have bikes to donate or are planning on putting them out on Brown and White pickup day, Sarah would like you to call her to pick them up. If you don’t have a bike, consider donating money to Bicycles for Humanity Charleston, a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt, charitable organization. Sarah’s phone number is 843-768-4407 and her address is 3220 Pine Needle, Seabrook Island. She is also selling B4H tee shirts to raise funds at the upcoming yard sale on Seabrook.
Seabrook Island residents should feel wonderful that we have young people in this world as dedicated to helping others as Sarah- and living on Seabrook Island.
-Sue Holloman, Staff Writer