Hart Middle School teachers and staff in Pleasanton built and delivered 14 bicycles for children in the San Leandro Parks and Recreation program through a team-building activity held Thursday afternoon, two days before schools opened.
However, staff didn't know they were building the bikes for the children and the children didn't know they were being surprised with bicycles.
Teachers and staff were told to show up at school for a staff development day, led by Odyssey Teams, Inc., a company best known for their philanthropic teambuilding programs, said Odyssey Teams facilitator Whitney Demorest.
The staff was split up into 14 teams of five and each team had 32 minutes to put together the product found in a big cardboard box, which ended up being a bicycle.
Once time ran out, the staff was asked to prepare a presentation of the bicycle and were shown who they would be presenting it to.
One by one, from shortest to tallest, 14 children walked into the multipurpose room.
Hart staff were in complete shock, while others had tears falling from their faces.
"Unbelievable. Just fabulous," said sixth grade teacher Erin Van der Zee. "What a great way to start the year."
Each group presented one of the children with their new bicycle, along with a safety helmet and bicycle lock.
"I'm so surprised," said Kennedy Middle School eighth grader Juno Hwang. "I really appreciate this new bike."
According to Demorest, Odyssey Teams "Life Cycles" training program is a way for people to learn about themselves but also give back to the community.
"Through the 'Life Cycle' of creating something valuable and passing it on to the end user, your team will experience firsthand the value of collaboration, customer-centricity, and teamwork," the company's website states.
"When the kids walked through that door, all the work we did immediately had meaning," said sixth grade science teacher Brian Wigand. "When our students walk through that door on Monday, they will give meaning to all the hard work we've been doing. We can really change some kids' lives."