Local Nonprofit in the Running for National Grant

Your Vote Could Help Area Group Win $50,000 to Encourage Fitness in NYC Schools

Oct 20, 2010, 09:00 ET from I Challenge Myself

NEW YORK, Oct. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- I Challenge Myself (ICM), a local nonprofit, needs your vote by Nov. 1. The small nonprofit is in the running to win a $50,000 grant that would support a program promoting physical activity in New York City schools.

To vote, go to the website www.powerabrightfuture.com and search for "Cycling Smarts". You can vote once a day until ballots closes on Nov. 1. The grant competition – Power a Bright Future – is sponsored by Clorox, which is offering grants to local school programs.  There is a simple registration that needs to be completed to vote. Once registered voters only need to provide the email address used during registration to continue voting.

"The Clorox Power a Bright Future Grant would go a long way in helping ICM keep Cycling Smarts in our current NYC public high school sites," said Ana Reyes, who founded ICM.

Cycling Smarts, which ICM offers free of charge to 200 students at four partner schools, is a non-competitive program that trains students to participate in a summer 100-mile bike tour  and Winter Fitness Challenge.  In addition to outdoor bicycling, students participate in a rigorous cross-training program and educational workshops. 

"While students train and improve their physical fitness levels, they learn the value of teamwork, how to make healthier food choices and apply concepts taught in the classroom," said Reyes.

ICM provides schools with bicycles and riding gear, identifies and trains teachers from participating schools to co-teach the class, provides curricula, and onsite technical assistance. Additionally, ICM organizes the fitness challenges and student recognition ceremonies and maintains the bikes.  

"Most of the students have never cycled beyond their block. Cycling Smarts gives our students an opportunity to discover NYC neighborhoods while they improve physically and socially," said Reyes. "We're asking the community to help support our organization and New York City students by voting for Cycling Smarts."

If ICM wins the grant, the funds would support the Cycling Smarts program, and allow ICM to offer a summer program called the College Cycling Tour. The proposed College Cycling Tour would provide 9th and 10th grade students who complete the Cycling Smarts program the chance to cycle upstate New York over a seven-day period to visit area colleges.

"The College Cycling Tour is designed to help them make the most of their high school experience and get a jump start on making college plans," said Reyes.

I Challenge Myself came into existence in September 2003 to improve the physical, social and mental well-being of underserved youth. ICM provides youth opportunities to tackle the seemingly impossible task of cycling 100-miles in one-day and developing projects to help improve health in their communities. Through these experiences ICM hopes youth break down mental barriers that limit the choices they make in life and learn to embrace challenges as opportunities to learn and grow.

SOURCE I Challenge Myself