DINWIDDIE – On a chilly Friday morning in Dinwiddie County, hundreds of boys and girls sang Christmas favorites before a crowd of smiling teachers and parents, but a holiday surprise would leave those same kids speechless and beaming from ear to ear.
Thanks to the efforts of teachers and staff at Sutherland Elementary School and help from the community, including the Dinwiddie County Sheriff’s Department, the staff was able to give six lucky students brand new bicycles as they prepare to head home for the Christmas holiday break.
Sutherland Elementary School teacher Deborah Williams called each lucky boy and girl on stage to get their shiny new bicycle, which was rolled out by their smiling parents, offering a heartwarming moment for both parents and children alike. Williams explained that this event started small but grew in scale due to the kindness of the community.
“It started as just one bike and a couple of prizes,” she said. “Then, people from all over the community have come out and donated money or gift certificates, causing it to just grow.”
Williams explained that students who were on their best behavior got tickets every week and those tickets were used for the drawing for the new bicycles. In addition to the bikes, other students received gift cards to various area businesses and gift baskets full of fun prizes and treats.
She added that having both community and parent involvement aided in the success of the bike giveaway, as parents made themselves available to teachers to help pick out the right bike and helmets for their child.
As the event went on, teachers and parents credited School Resource Officer Nathaniel Charles for the hard work and efforts he put into organizing the event and for his tireless efforts of inspiring the minds and hearts of the Sutherland Elementary School student body. Many of those compliments were echoed by the school’s assistant principal Chuck Moss.
“Having Officer Charles as our SRO has been an amazing opportunity for us,” Moss said. “He has done so much to shape the hearts and minds of these young kids and he has been a tremendous resource for me and for the students.”
Before helping roll the bikes from behind the stage, Charles walked along the crowd of seated Sutherland Elementary students, giving them inspiring messages and getting them riled up with excitement, to which the kids cheered and smiled back at the Dinwiddie County deputy.
“I love the kids and the kids love me and it just makes me feel good that I am able to do something for the community.”
Charles made his away around the stage, shaking hands and posing for pictures with the children on their new bikes and their parents who were as happy as a child on Christmas Day to see their kids with brand new toys thanks to the kindness of the community.
The idea of having made such a profound impact on a child’s Christmas is something that Charles struggled to put into words.
“I can’t even describe it,” he said.
“This is simply a marvelous feeling, mainly because I know that I am trying to change a child’s life and trying to show them the right way and right things that we expect out of them as Americans,” Charles closed.
Copyright 2014 by Hermes Publications