April 23rd 2013
MAKE A DONATION TO SUPPORT OUR STUDENT CYCLISTS »
Faith Kroma, vivacious and full of energy, clipped her riding shoes into the toe holds of her aluminum framed Fuji racing bike. Faith was about to do something she’d never done before: ride 15 miles through Camden in preparation for our Pedal for Promise bike race. She and her peers were training for the event’s 65-milecourse—the longest UrbanPromise has ever offered.
“I’m used to riding the smooth roads of Medford Lakes, but I’d never really thought about training in our own city,” Faith said.
Her wonderment made sense. Camden streets are notoriously narrow and wounded with potholes. Drug dealers promote business on prominent corners—not the ideal place to train for such a long ride.
“But, here’s the thing,” added Jim Cummings, UrbanPromise’s director of experiential learning. “I want the kids to start seeing their city as a resource for good. We’re all a little nervous about the experiment. But we can’t let fear control us.”
So, as part of their three-month training, Jim, a handful of volunteers, and students on our UrbanPromise Academy “Elite Cycling Team” rode along the back streets of Camden.
Our small high school may not have a basketball team, football team, or cheerleading squad. But the Academy is the only school in the city with a cycling team. And it’s open to both males and females of varying athletic prowess. Each spring the teens dust off their bikes, pull out their Spandex shorts and helmets, and begin logging miles.
“People started cheering for us,” shared Kevin, an Academy freshman, in reference to his first ride through Camden. “Even a drug dealer cheered. He wanted to join the ride. It felt really good.”
And that’s why we encourage our students to ride. Being part of a team builds community, and accomplishing goals increases self-confidence and teaches discipline. And training for a 65-mile race keeps our young people in shape—and out of trouble.
When Faith and Kevin heard I was writing about them, they asked me to tell you that they’re looking for rider sponsors. Sponsorships support experiential and expeditionary learning at UrbanPromise Academy and within our UrbanTrekkers program, and help offset tuition, buy new textbooks, and underwrite extracurricular activities like camping and hiking.
So just as I challenge my students to get involved, I’m asking you to pick a rider—or two or three—to support. Sponsor each mile our teens complete or give in full. Your sponsorship will encourage our riders deeply and send a message that they matter.
Dr. Bruce Main
P.S. Consider joining our students on their Pedal for Promise ride on May 4. For more information »