UCHealth’s Giving Bikes Program is an employee-to-employee giving program intended to support families in need during the holiday season. The program provides bikes to children of UCHealth northern Colorado employees.
The program is the brainchild of Dave Schmillen, UCHealth Emergency Medical Services (EMS) operations chief for Weld county. Schmillen started Giving Bikes in 2008 as a way to show his young son the importance of giving.
“With the support of the foundation and donations from staff, the Giving Bikes Program was able to meet all requests this year for bikes for families in our health system,” Schmillen said. “We purchased 83 bikes for 38 happy families.”
The EMS staff—along with members of a UCHealth employee networking, education and volunteer-service group called Young Professionals—helped organize the effort and get the bikes into the families’ hands.
Schmillen said he and the EMS staff were moved by the stories of the recipients. One employee, with tears in her eyes, described how difficult this time of year has been because of her husband being out of work due to COVID. Another family asked for a bike for a young man who had been saved from human trafficking and whom they had taken in. A common statement, Schmillen said, was how the bicycle will add so much to their kids’ holiday and give them joy.
“With a bike shortage and costs going up,” Schmillen said, “we were very blessed with the support from many areas to make this one of our best and most successful years ever for the program.”