Matthew Newman: The Big Bike Giveaway
Matthew Newman doesn’t want any of his experiences to go to waste. His hard times are turned into learning experiences and his successes are opportunities to give back to the community. For 2017, that opportunity took the shape of ten bicycles and ten happy fifth graders.
Several years ago, as Matthew’s lawn care business grew and his professional network expanded, he knew he could create experiences that enhanced the lives of struggling people in Dallas. In 2015 he organized a gourmet Christmas dinner for the homeless community in a tent city. For his 2017 project, Matthew partnered with Eduardo Mata Elementary School, a public Montessori school in East Dallas to give away ten bicycles and helmets to fifth graders at the school.
To win a bicycle, the students wrote a short essay on the topic of “What a new bike will mean to me.” Bikes were donated by Richardson Bike Mart – White Rock, Concord Church, and YMCA Dallas, and event sponsors included Planet Fitness - Mesquite, House of Artists, and Grant Source. Dallas ISD Police Department also attended the bike giveaway to share bike safety tips with all the students. Ten deserving students went home with a brand-new bicycle and helmet, which, for some, is a life-changing Christmas gift.
“It’s important for us to understand that a bike is not just a joy ride for these kids, but often their lifeline to getting to school on time, participating in sports and other extracurricular activities,” Matthew said. “In addition, having a bike helps kids increase their physical activity while teaching them responsibility.”
These giving experiences, along with a background in business marketing, have all culminated in Matthew’s new nonprofit organization, For the Life of You Mentoring Foundation. His goal is to create peer-to-peer mentoring relationships between underserved youth and influential youth. And his vision for mentoring is focused on the idea of recycling – preparing the mentee for the mentor role.
“I first started mentoring 9.5 years ago as a Big Brother. But I could see we weren’t enough to prepare our mentees to become mentors,” said Matthew. “Our model at For the Life of You brings in high school junior level students as mentors for incoming freshman. The relationship will last two years and then the new junior is ready to turn around and start mentoring a new freshman.” Students who graduate from the mentoring program will earn a $5,000 scholarship toward their higher education.
Central to his heart for mentoring is showing others how to give back, so Matthew can't wait for next year's Christmas Bike Giveaway - a tradition he hopes will continue to grow as generations of mentors learn to serve the Dallas community.