2 min read

Many of us probably have fond memories of riding our bikes as children: cruising up and down neighborhood streets, racing friends and spending as much time outside in the summer. 

Unfortunately, not everyone gets to create those memories. One teacher in the Southeast Polk Community School District is trying to change that. 

Amy Olesen is an English-to-Speakers-of-Other-Languages (ESOL) teacher at Willowbrook Elementary School in Altoona. Her students speak, hear or understand other languages and she works with them to become better English speakers, readers and writers. Olesen is also one of the teachers who helps with Willowbrook’s annual bike ride. 

“Every year, [the] fifth grade [students] takes a bike ride trip to a local park to have lunch and then they bike back. It’s their end-of-year celebration!” explained Olesen. “Whenever we have the bike ride, we always start with asking kids if they have bikes to go on the ride. We always have a handful [of kids] that don’t have a bike and don’t have access or the means to get a bike. 

“In the past, I’ve always asked people to lend a bike for the day and then I realized well then [the kids] only get that bike for a day and they don’t get to enjoy it at home or in the community.”

Olesen reached out to the C21 Impact Committee to find out if the group could help in any way. 

C21 Impact is CENTURY 21 Signature Real Estate’s nonprofit organization and provides an opportunity for C21SRE agents and staff to pool resources to directly impact and improve the lives of people and families in the local communities.

The Impact Committee provided five bikes, helmets and bike locks to five students in Olesen’s class to use not only for the end-of-year celebration but to keep and use as their own. 

C21 Impact ESOL students
Amy Olesen, ESOL teacher at Willowbrook Elementary School, and her students.

“They’ll get to use it today and enjoy the experience today but also take it home and go around the town, meet up with friends, go to parks, get on trails, go to the library and just be able to access their community with this bike,” said Olesen. 

Fifth grade students on the annual end-of-year bike ride.

“I wish that everyone could have seen the smiles and the joy on the faces of the students that got to not only be part of this day but take that bike home and access their community,” she continued. “It’s rewarding for me to see and I want everyone to know how grateful the students are and what a difference your program is doing.”

At Century 21 Signature Real Estate, we’ve made it our purpose to do more than just sell real estate. Our C21 Impact program is an opportunity for C21SRE agents and staff to pool our resources and directly impact and improve the lives of people and families in our communities. The Impact fund is made up of donations from our agents and staff with a 10% match from the C21SRE company. The Impact Board Committee is made up of the broker/owners, six agents, one staff member, and a treasurer. Board members vote on how to distribute funds to local people and families in need and all funds go directly to the chosen recipients. Learn more at www.iowac21career.com/impact.