Kids and Bikers working together
Photos and story by: Ricky Jimenez Carrasco
When the administration and parent volunteers at Kohlberg Elementary decided to invite the bikers of the EP Coalition to their school to pick up the toys their students had collected, they figured it would be fun for their students to see a few bikes and a couple of bikers there. What they got was a full-fledged invasion by Biker Santa and about a hundred of his leather-clad, chrome-riding helpers.
At first, a couple of the sport bikes zoomed in to block off cross traffic and many of the kids froze with anticipation. Then a rumble could be heard growing in the distance. Then, Santa and Mrs. Claus appeared on their big bad red trike, followed by members of many clubs from around the Coalition; Bandidos, Chamucos, Mission Riders, Kings&Priests, Ruff Ryders, and many many others. They rode around the school and finally entered the play yard and surrounded the 700 students, teachers and administration of Olga Kohlberg Elementary, ready for their Christmas mission. The kids went crazy, calling for Santa and the bikers. The bikers greeted the kids with handshakes, high-fives, and candy. Many of the adults looked amazed and somewhat stunned.
Dolores Enniss, who has little experience with bikers, helped organize the gift donation and biker visit. Her visit to the Coalition meeting to formalize the event took her by surprise, “It was an interesting experience at the meeting. We expected a ‘board meeting’ with a few members, and there were easily 70 or more. Then we saw club after club presenting on what they had done in the community, what they had collected, and what they planned to do in the future.” Enniss told me that she expected 5, maybe 10 bikers to show up or the school. “I asked one of the teachers to count the bikers that arrived. She gave up after 78. One of the teachers came up to me and gave me a hug and told me what a beautiful experience this was for everybody. She even started crying!”
Mary Vargas, principal at Kohlberg, described how they chose to work with the bikers. “Last year, instead of doing a normal gift exchange, the kids decided to give back to the community. We are a dual language campus, so to celebrate the culture, the kids made small decorated pinatas to stuff with a gift.” They chose a couple local charities that sent their representatives to receive the donations. “This year, Dolores got in touch with someone who knew the bikers, who invited us to go to the meeting. If some of them could come out and receive the gifts and let them be seen by the kids, I think that would be exciting, and then the bikers could distribute the toys amongst their different organizations.”
Enniss estimates that about 500 of the students brought gifts, which in all, almost filled a 15 foot panel truck. Every class took a picture with the attending bikers and every kid couldn’t wait to greet Santa and whatever biker they could find. A good time was had by all who attended and many already began talking about how to make this event into an annual tradition. More than one kid could be heard saying how they wanted to be a biker when they grew up. Perhaps that small statement shows how big of an impact just a simple gesture can make.