After discovering one of her students didn’t own a bike, this Title I teacher made it her mission to get bikes for all 650 students. Little did she know, her charge would turn into a life purpose in providing underprivileged children with joy.
A marketing specialist turned Title I teacher turned entrepreneur is making waves by giving underprivileged children what they need – joy.
Ten years ago, Katie Blomquist was working in a public relations office in Chicago. The job left much to be desired. She felt she wasn’t making a difference in the world.
So, she quit.
To make ends meet, she became a nanny. In addition to an income, the job provided her with clarity. Seeing the connection and impact she had with the children inspired her to pursue a career in teaching.
With a master’s degree, new city and refreshed outlook, Katie became a first-grade teacher at a Title I school in Charleston. According to the U.S. Department of Education, Title I schools are those with high percentages of children from low-income families.
“You are so much more than an educator when you work in a Title I school,” said Katie.
Katie found herself teaching students life and social skills, providing a listening ear during recess and being one of the only consistent adults in their lives.
She became especially close with a student named Jawan. The first-grader was being raised by his grandmother and didn’t get out of the house often.
“He was pretty unmotivated in school because he was never given a reason to be motivated,” said Katie. “I thought, ‘I’ve got to bond with him outside of here and show him there’s all these awesome things in the world you can do… but you have to go through school first.’”