Cadence Youth Cycling has always been focused on preparing youth for life beyond high school. The program’s mission to teach healthy habits, foster independence, and build leadership in youth through the sport of cycling produces impressive results. In 2016, 90% of CYC athletes reported to feel better about their future after joining the cycling team and 96% said cycling taught them to push themselves to overcome challenges.
The teamwork, commitment, and perseverance youth gain as they become cyclists translates into success in other areas of their lives, evident by 86% of youth remarking that CYC helped them find ways to achieve their goals. For the first time in the program’s history, we are able to offer graduating seniors a very tangible way to achieve their future goals: college scholarships.
Our friend and major program supporter, Jerry Jacobs, gave a generous donation to start the Cadence Youth Cycling College Scholarship Fund. Recipients are chosen through an application process that considers merit, commitment to remaining involved with CYC, and financial need. Athletes chosen for these scholarships commit to remaining involved with CYC over the next four years, are assigned a one-on-one college mentor, and receive employment opportunities with CYC.
Meet the 2017 Cadence Youth Cycling College Scholarship Fund Recipients
Cadence Youth Cycling All Star, 2016 Youth Advisory Council member, and competitive road cyclist.
Krystal received a $10,000 scholarship. She graduated from Mastery Charter School Pickett Campus and is attending Trinity College in Hartford Connecticut where she plans to major in Theater.
“The people I’ve had to grow up with like the same music, liked the same clothes, and had the same idea of fun. Everyone wanted to be a doctor, graphic designer, or a lawyer, but no one cared for a career in performing arts. I want to go to college so I can finally find people who are similar to me. I need new experiences that are different from my coddled and boxed in life in my current environment.”
Krystal attributes her spike in confidence to the support she received from a CYC coach and program alumni, Justin Thompson. She says that Justin taught her “without confidence, there is no growth or improvement.” She decided to become more open minded when it came to cycling and her forced optimism converted to sincere confidence. “Not only was I more confident in my riding ability”, she remarked in her scholarship essay, “but also I’ve become a more outspoken on my everyday life.”
Krystal will take her natural leadership abilities, and those gained through Cadence Youth Cycling, and start a cycling team at Trinity College to introduce that community and the broader Hartford community to the benefits of bicycling. On her college visit, she noted the lack of pedestrians and bicyclists, as well as bicycle infrastructure, and she plans to lead changes that help people rely less on their cars! She says, “ Within my short essay to Trinity, I let them know that I had every intention to introduce the importance of cycling. Cadence has shown me the benefits of cycling as a whole. I’m not just talking about the riding part, but also how cycling is better for the environment.
Cadence Youth Cycling All Star, 2016 Youth Advisory Council member, and competitive road cyclist and triathlete.
Coleman received a $10,000 scholarship. He graduated from Mastery Charter School Pickett Campus and is attending Clarion University where he plans to major in Physics.
Coleman says, “With a college education I’ll be able to continue with my fascination of the study of our world’s matter and energy. After I finish my studies at Clarion and earn a Physics degree, I plan to transfer over to the University of Pittsburgh to study Engineering and earn another degree all within 5 years.”
Coleman also has an interest in learning more about psychology. “I’ve always enjoyed counseling or helping others by sharing knowledge. I’ve been told that to be a counselor you need to be a good listener and communicator and I believe that I have both of those skills from Cadence whether it was because of my experience being a youth advisor and easily being able to share my opinions to better the program or my ability to speak in front of a crowd to present a slideshow to my fellow youth advisors without fear.”
As for how Coleman will get around campus? He says, “My bike will be my mode of transportation everywhere and thanks to Cadence I feel as though I can go anywhere because I have gone great distances with the help of my team that I now call my family.” He looks forward to remaining a mentor to upcoming CYC athletes by staying in touch on social media and over his holiday and summer breaks. “Being a mentor is truly a great position to have, because you’re given the opportunity to express lessons that you’ve learned throughout your experiences on a bike.”
Tamia SantiagoCadence Youth Cycling All Star, 2015 and 2016 Youth Advisory Council member, competitive road cyclist and triathlete, and Valedictorian of her graduating class at Roxborough High School.
Tamia received a $5,000 scholarship that she will use toward her education at Drexel University where she plans to major in computer science. An activist at heart, Tamia says she chose this major to help people, remarking “This field enables millions of jobs and innovations. I plan to implement them into our communities.” One way Tamia learned how to advocate for others was through her role on the CYC Youth Advisory Committee. She says, “The same peers that I rode along side with at practice came to me when they wanted to see change. I experienced the responsibility of presenting a youth’s perspective and benefited from witnessing a bridge being built [to adults].”
Tamia is acutely aware of just how challenging it is for youth from low-income and underinvested Philadelphia neighborhoods to attend college. “The concept of success is scary”, she wrote in her scholarship essay. She continued, “Not in a sense of what success is, but how you get there.” She goes on to tell the story that Philadelphia youth are encouraged to go to college from a young age and shamed if that is not their plan. “Yet they do not tell us the reality of college for people like me.”, she notes. She calls college the “essential opportunity [that is] “fogged with loans and debt…the only pathway to success that I cannot afford.” Tamia concludes saying, “I want to be the very success story that the youth of my community look to for motivation.”
Tamia boldly states in her essay, “I am a Cadence success story.” She says, “Cycling became my outlet and Cadence became my family. This program has done so much for my fitness, self-esteem, and integrity.” Her most noteworthy inspiration, however, is her mother, who raised Tamia on her own and earned her bachelor’s degree to give them a better life. “She is my hero…my motivation…she is a goddess.” Tamia goes onto say, “I watched [my mother] work hard for 18 years and not break a sweat. This woman stirred a hunger in me that will feed a nation.” Tamia will take that motivation and hunger instilled in her by her mother and strive for greatness at Drexel University. “If she can go back [to college] after having me”, Tamia remarks, “then I can attend Drexel this fall and be the best I can be. I will graduate and I will live a life that is complete.”
Tamia will be no stranger to upcoming CYC athletes. She says, “To take part in cadence after graduation is not of obligation but second nature.”
Cadence Youth Cycling All Star, competitive road cyclist and triathlete, and Pennsylvania State Champion in her division for road cycling.
Marlina received a $5,000 scholarship. She graduated from Mastery Charter School Pickett Campus and is attending The Community College of Philadelphia, where she will get an Associate in Applied Science in Digital Video Production. This will build upon her experience in digital media through Temple University’s program, POPPYN (Presenting on Perspective On Philly Youth News) where she serves as a digital editor, conducts interviews, and operates the camera. Though Marlina has an interest in the IT field she says, “I see college as place where I can test my skills and find out what i’m good at, so I can find the best career for me.”
In her scholarship essay, Marlina states, “CYC has become a home, family, and a place where I can embrace who I am. [CYC became] a safe haven from my problems, and gave me many opportunities and room to grow.” Surely this can be attributed to the mentorship she received from teammates and coaches. She says that one teammate in particular, Taevon Oliver, “saw in me what I couldn’t.” Taevon took her for rides and helped her train for race team tryouts. She says, “Taevon gave me that extra push I needed. He was like a jump start. The time I spent with Taevon training has contributed a lot to how I am today.” CYC coach and program alumni, Justin Thompson, has also made an impact on Marlina’s life. She notes, “He is a very tough yet sensitive coach who knows a lot he taught me more than I ever would’ve known by myself.”
The mentorship Marlina has received through CYC inspires her to give back to the program. She hopes to become an assistant coach in 2018 so that she can help other youth athletes have the same opportunities she has and encourage youth who initially doubted their racing ability as she once did. She knows that the new recruits have bright futures ahead of them and hopes they have even greater opportunities than she did.