Ankou and Powless built 200 bikes to be split among the two locations and to be picked up by any kid in that community who needed one. Along with the bike, every kid got a new helmet as well. This event was a surprise to the kids which made it so much more special when the couple came out and showed the kids their new set of wheels.
Ankou was proud of how this event came together and the impact he could make in these kids’ lives. The importance of giving back to others is something the defensive tackle learned at a young age.
“My father is from Togo, he’s African, and my mother is Ojibwe and Caucasian,” Ankou said. “And being raised with those values definitely helped us grow into who we are today, myself and my siblings. The act of giving is such an integral part of our culture that we don’t really think twice about it.
Ankou’s fiancée is a professional cyclist. Powless has hosted numerous community cycling events including several trips to different Native American reservations. She has family ties to the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin. Ankou and Powless want to send the message that anyone has the power to give back and positively impact another person’s life.
“This is not just really a thing for me to do,” Ankou added. “I think what it should be seen as from me, and Shana is a catalyst that anyone can do this. Anyone can organize it and obviously, it takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of organization but being able to give to the people around you is such a good thing. It’s a good feeling.
“And it helps uplift many lives that otherwise either wouldn’t have too much direction or sometimes all we need is a nudge. I find that especially true for children who are just trying to find themselves in the world. And for us, we think that it’s a very important aspect of our culture. Being Ojibwe, having those values instilled into me from an early age is something that has carried me through into my adulthood.”
For more information about the Dreamcatcher Foundation, click here.