Club Converts Wheels From Waste to Wonder

The One Dollar For Life (ODFL) organization is planning to begin its newest project, Wheels of Wonders (WoW), on February 29 as a follow-up to its previous project of building a classroom in Kenya.

According to ODFL adviser Robert Freeman, WoW is an effort to “convert American trash into Third World treasure.” The project involves collecting unused bicycles from various sources and sending them to Africa to be repaired and distributed to children in need of the. On February 29, donors began to bring their bikes to the school parking lot to load onto a trailer parked in the corner of the lot near where the pumpkin patch was located. Freeman dismisses possible parking issues caused by the trailer as only minor inconveniences.

ODFL plans to ship bicycles to Nanyuki, Kenya, where many children live several miles away from school. Bicycles will reduce travel time by about one hour.

“The goal is to get as many bikes over there so that the kids over there can get to school,” senior Lester Leung said.

Freeman, who came up with idea, had presented it to several organizations in the past few weeks. Los Altos and Gunn High Schools’ Key Club and Kiwanis International are all very enthusiastic. Kiwanis recently recommended that Freeman call a second trailer in on pick-up day.

SEANet, which assisted ODFL with its previous project, has also agreed to endorse WoW.

ODFL is spreading the word at school, hanging posters and distributing flyers throughout Palo Alto and advertising their cause in local newspapers. According to Freeman, the key to WoW’s success lies in whether ODFL and its constituents can attract a sufficient number of bike donors.

A local bike company, Off Ramp, has already agreed to donate 50 bikes and each member of the KEy CLub has pledged to donate at least one.

Freeman is planning to enlist local and national media companies to broadcast the project. International organizations such as Kiwanis will play a large role in exporting the project to other communities. Freeman hopes that WoW will catch on in Palo Alto and continue throughout the state and eventually the nation.

“It’s just the ‘army of ants’ approach,” Freeman said. “If all of us do just a little jut, the effect is astonishing.”

So far, ODFL has received inquiries from several states such as Wisconsin and Ohio and many UC campuses have expressed interests in WoW.

“WoW has the potential to have huge impacts on society,” said senior Austin Juo, treasurer of Key Club. “We just have to keep spreading the word.”

The total cost of the project is still uncertain. A large portion of this sum will consist of shipping and transportation costs amounting to about $12,000.

ODFL plans to ask bike donors to contribute an additional $10 and is trying to encourage community businesses and service organizations such as Outreach to donate money.

ODFL’s decision to go through with WoW has been postponed for a week to further negotiate shipping costs.

“We don’t want to spend so much on shipping the bikes when we could be using that money for something else,” senior Lauren Crum said.