Changing Lives, One Bike at a Time
As Enrico DeLuca looks back on his childhood and the circumstances of his upbringing, one memory stands out in particular.
Not the fact that he was raised along with his brother and sister by a single mom in a one-bedroom apartment that forced the foursome to bunk together every night in the same room. Or the days his mother walked several miles to get to and from work because the family didn’t have a car. The memory that stands out the most to Enrico was the day a young couple from his neighborhood who barely knew him did something that would serve as a guiding principle for him over the next 44 years, laying the foundation for his charitable work.
“They bought me a bike — a brand new Ross Apollo 5-speed — and I’ll always remember that,” said Enrico, B2B senior sales manager for AT&T at Samsung, as he fondly reflected on what that meant to him as an 8-year old, who at the time, didn’t even have his own bed.
The joy he felt upon receiving his new set of wheels was indescribable, and the one thing he did know is he would deliver that same sense of joy to other less fortunate children one day. That opportunity came 41 years later in December 2013 when Enrico — with the help of family and friends — would start his own not-for-profit organization called Bikes for Kids in America.
“Even though we had no money growing up,” explained Enrico, “my mother always preached to us to be generous in life whenever we could. As I got older and started doing well professionally, I really wanted to give back and help others.”
In the short three years the organization has been active, they have already given away more than 1,350 bikes across six states. Each child also receives a helmet, a bike lock and a t-shirt. By the end of 2016, Enrico has plans to gift another 100 or so to help make the holidays extra special for the children whose families may not have the means to purchase gifts.
His efforts go far beyond the work he does with his organization. Enrico often approaches families in stores with: “Hi. Would you mind if I buy your child a bike?” In return, he’s greeted with tears of joy and gratitude – not only from the child, but from the parents as well.
“I started out giving children toys, but when you give them a bike … it’s a totally different reaction,” he said. “There are these big smiles on their faces and their first reaction is to hop on the bike and start riding – even in the rain or snow. It’s truly amazing.”
With Samsung’s commitment to being a good corporate citizen, Enrico is also able to help others in need as part of a company-wide effort. During our most recent Day of Service – a bi-annual event where offices across the U.S. close for the day so employees can go out and give back to the local communities – Enrico enlisted the help of several of his colleagues to help hand out bikes to children to an elementary school in Long Island, New York.
The desire to help others has long been engrained in Enrico. His passion for building a better world carries him through his mission of helping communities grow stronger and closer through the power of cycling.
My tagline is “Making Kids Smile One Bike at a Time”, but it really should be making me smile one bike at a time because of the joy it brings me.