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Turning a negative into a positive: Mom organizes 'Pay it Forward Bike Drive' after daughter's bike was stolen

The community donated over 70 bikes and scooters for a bike drive organized by a Valley woman after her daughter's bike was stolen from her school campus.

MARICOPA, Ariz. — After Leatrice Smiley's 13-year-old girl's new bicycle was stolen from her school's campus in August, she turned to social media to ask others for help. 

The post gained a ton of attention and an outpouring of support from strangers asking to purchase or donate a new bike for her daughter.

"I posted asking people if anyone comes home with a bike, please return," she said. "A lot of people wanted to help, they wanted to donate a bike to her, one gentleman said I'll buy her a new bike and lock but instead I wanted to wait a couple of days and see if it turned up."

Smiley, however, decided to use that support, turning the negative into a positive opportunity to give back. From that, came the idea to give bikes to kids who really need them.

She turned to social media again but this time with a different message. She asked for donations to help make this idea, a reality. 

Now they have 70 bikes, 5 scooters, dozens of volunteers and other supplies like locks, helmets, tire tubes and chains pouring in from donations.

"My wife and I have reached out to every elementary school, principals and administration, in hopes that they can identify kids who walked to school and may not have access to bikes," Smiley said.

All the bikes and items will be donated to kids in their community in need on October 9th at Pacana Park.

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