Designers Partner with CII’s Project Fatherhood to Build Bikes for Kids

September 23, 2019
Ryan Imondi

CII’s annual Gears4Kids event partnered with 100 volunteers from some 20 architecture and design firms to teach kids how to build and ride a bike. At the end of the event, each child got to take home a new bike.

Haworth, the furniture and office space manufacturer, made the event possible by purchasing the bikes and tapping into their network of Los Angeles-based design firms. Each firm organized small teams and contributed to Gears4Kids by purchasing essential items like bike lights, bells, water bottle holders and locks.

Kids with dads in CII’s Project Fatherhood program rode their bikes through an obstacle course after the bikes were assembled with a team of volunteers.

April Blackadder, Director at Haworth, and Celeste Altimari, Account Executive, were on site with 15 Haworth staff who volunteered for the event. Altimari has been part of Gears4Kids since its inception and said it is always a wonderful event. Blackadder, who was attending her first Gears4Kids, said she understood why they continue to partner with CII to put on the event each year. 

“I would wake up early every Saturday to be part of something special like Gears4Kids,” Blackadder said. “Nothing makes us happier than to witness the smiles from the kids when they see their new bikes for the first time.”

This year’s event benefited children whose dads are part of CII’s Project Fatherhood program, which provides comprehensive parenting skills to men in caregiving roles and uses an innovative support group model where dads learn to be active participants in their children’s lives.

The design team from Haworth, who purchased the bikes for Gears4Kids and coordinated with the LA design community to bring 100 volunteers together.

After the teams assembled the bikes, the kids were put through an obstacle course run by The Los Angeles County Bike Coalition (LACBC). Two officers from the LAPD led a presentation on rules for the road with safety tips while riding. Near the end of the event, an In-n-Out Burger truck handed out free meals to keep kids, families and volunteers energized.

Soleil Delgadillo, Volunteer & Community Engagement Manager at CII, coordinated the event with Kelsey Sebastian, Digital Market Manager at Haworth. Delgaillo said it was amazing to see so many different groups from the community come together to support children and families.

“Everyone got the opportunity to meet someone new and walk away with either a bike, a photo, or a meaningful experience,” she said. “And hopefully each person had a great time in the process.”

Gabrielle and his 7-year-old daughter Marisela wait inside after putting together her new bike at Gears4Kids.

Gabrielle, a father in Project Fatherhood, worked with the volunteers to assemble a bike with his 7-year-old daughter
Marisela. Gabrielle has been involved with Project Fatherhood for three years and said he could tell the experience was something his daughter was going to remember and appreciate for a long time.

When asked what she thought about her new bike, Marisela kept it simple. “My new bike is awesome of course,” she said. “I loved pedaling it around.”

Thank you to everyone who made Gears4Kids possible: Peoplespace; SAA LA; Wirt; Wolcott; Gensler; HDR 1; HMC LA; HOK; HDR 2; Callison RTKL; JLL; Haworth; Klawiter; Bluescape; Ergtotron; AIS; H Hendy; Forge; LAPD; LACBC; In-n-Out Burger