9-year-old girl donates bikes to needy students

CHICAGO For third grader Nicole Basil of Wilmette, the Mahalia Jackson School on Chicago's South Side is a long way from home. But bicycles have brought Wilmette and the Gresham neighborhood together. Nicole, her brother, Bennett, and her family started a used bike drive in October. The bikes would be for good students in needy neighborhoods.

"I'm bringing these bikes to you guys because you're doing so well in school," said Nicole.

Nicole and the Basil family brought 70 bikes to Jackson School. It's a big deal now, but it started out small.

"My goal was 50 bikes, but we went way over," said Nicole.

Hull House was helping to distribute the bikes Wednesday. Ten of them were given away to some top-notch and very grateful students.

"We thought she was much older, so this is very inspiring for us to have a young girl of that age to be giving back to the community like that," said Larry Johnson, an eighth grader at Mahalia Jackson School.

"This is why we did it, to reward these kids for succeeding in school in some really difficult circumstances," said Mike Basil, Nicole's father.

The Basils say the bikes came from friends, neighbors and everywhere. And they were all tuned up for free by the Wilmette Bike Shop.

"Absolutely breathtaking to see the amount of people who were so willing and wanting to help," said Melissa Basil, mother of Nicole.

It was Nicole's idea to reward good students with something fun.

"A pencil is not that great of a thing, but a bike is for doing well in school," said Nicole.

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