With the season of giving now upon us, the Los Angeles Chargers surprised students from Cesar Chavez Elementary School in Long Beach with brand new bikes for the holidays.
While the event was put on in conjunction with the nonprofit Bikes for Kids, the bicycles given out were generously purchased by the Spanos family and organization. This year, due to the team's partnership with California Resources Corporation, the Bolts were able to give away more bikes than ever before.
"This is just so exciting," Bill Pollakov, President and Founder of Bikes for Kids said. "The Chargers do such a great job. The players do such a great job. They get involved. It's not just the players, the last couple years we've had the cheerleaders, and they just get so involved and they get wrapped up because the kids are so great. It's wonderful. We've consistently picked the right school with the right kids, and it's hard not to get excited and tear up at times because of that excitement. Nothing happens without the Los Angeles Chargers. Nothing happens. We're grateful."
"There are no words for how incredible this feeling was," added Aleen Postoyan, Communications Specialist at California Resources Corporation. "To see the look of the kids' faces, they were crying, they were just so thrilled to be given this opportunity. We love partnering with the Chargers. We love partnering to promote kids' education, to try to impact schools in the Greater Los Angeles area, so this experience was just incredible."
Prior to the event, the kids in attendance had to write essays on what their dream job would be when they grow up and were told that a select few students would win bikes based off their essays. After Pollakov spoke, Chargers players Geremy Davis, Michael Badgley, Brandon Facyson, Michael Davis and Artavis Scott read the winning essays.
"One of the essays that I read kind of hit home to me," explained Facyson. "It was talking about confidence, all that stuff. She had a great essay, so I was really excited to read it and I was excited to announce (her as) the winner of that, and she was excited. She was overcome with emotion and it was a great feeling."
"It's good to see kids have dreams for something," added Geremy Davis. "A lot of those kids, some want to be teachers, some want to be presidents (or) professional athletes. It's just awesome for those kids to have a goal to reach and from this age to have something to obtain."
But then, the kids got the surprise of a lifetime. After the essay winners were selected, Pollakov surprised the entire audience and told the crowd that every student in attendance would receive a bike. It was a surprise like that, that made the players appreciate their ties to the Chargers' longstanding commitment to giving back to the community and ability to impact kids' lives for the better.
"Any time we get a chance to come out in the community and do our part, it's part of being a pro," mentioned Badgley. "To do that for such a high-class organization like the Chargers, this is only the beginning and hopefully we can do a lot more community events and keep brightening peoples' days."
"(It means) everything," Facyson added. "At this age, not a lot of people get this opportunity so we want to as a group (and) as a family of the Chargers organization, we want to go out and impact as many lives as we can. I think we made a big impact here and they all had a good time."
Chargers players surprised students from Cesar Chavez Elementary School in Long Beach who participated in an essay competition with new bikes.