On a sunny Monday afternoon, Oct. 18, outside SB Hall, tents were pitched on the grass, emblazoned with the name Pro Players Foundation, with six tables set aside holding bike kits. Workers were gathered around the tables to welcome volunteers and offer assistance.
Kicking off the notoriously busy Charity Week, the University of Dallas hosted a Big Bike Build event funded by the Pro Players Foundation.
The Pro Players Foundation, located in Southlake, Texas, is a nonprofit organization that hosts a variety of events meant to benefit the youth and families in North Texas who live at or below the poverty line. The Big Bike Build event is one of their major annual projects where they seek volunteers to build bikes for children ages 3-5. They provide user-friendly, easy to assemble kits.
According to Rebecca Leppert, who is the Chief Operations Officer at Pro Players Foundation for three and a half years, UD has worked with them before through the Capstone program at the Gupta College of Business.
This is the first year they have hosted a community project on campus, with hopes to return annually. In previous years, they have donated bikes to a variety of organizations that have headstart programs, which are programs that offer support to families before kindergarten enrollment. Their best year was 2019, where they donated 750 bikes to kids in need.
This year, the Pro Players Foundation plans to give the bikes in November to the children at the Mi Escuelita Preschool in Dallas, which aims to help native Spanish speakers transition into English-speaking schools.
The draw of the event is that it allows participants to feel connected to the cause.
“[It] makes you feel like you have contributed something and that you got to do something with your hands that you know is going to go towards a really good cause,” Leppert says.
The kits come with very few parts that must be put together and yet, for how quick it is to assemble, the bikes are the first and perhaps the only ones the kids will receive. With a few steps, participants are able to brighten someone’s day in ways they would’ve never experienced without the slight donation of your time.
One of the students who attended, junior history major Katie Spencer, remarked: “I was pleasantly surprised that something for charity was so easy to do. It felt great to be there and everyone was so kind and welcoming.”
The idea of giving back to the community can often seem daunting, as if to make even a slight difference, one must dedicate hours of their time. This event proved that just isn’t the case.
Charity is something that can be easily accomplished, especially alongside the many events UD sponsors throughout Charity Week. Everyone is capable of making an impact, and it may only take a few minutes.