ICM Alum is Seinfeld Scholar
Edward Bonilla found it difficult to fit in during his freshman year of high school. “I wanted to be alone. I didn’t want to be around other kids.” In his junior year, he noticed a crowd of his peers gathering around James Braswell, a popular coach at Bronx Aerospace High School. The students were signing up for Cycling Smarts, I Challenge Myself’s signature program. “He really motivated me to give the program a try,” Edward recalls of Braswell.
Edward hadn’t been on a bike since moving from the Dominican Republic to the Bronx at the age nine. He admits he was nervous getting back on a bike. He remembers wanting to quit because the training was difficult and required a lot of discipline like getting up early on Saturdays for long bike rides. Having the one-day, 100-mile bike ride as a goal, he learned to stick with his team and continued training. Four months later Edward proudly crossed the finish line alongside his Bronx Aerospace teammates. Wanting to challenge himself once again Edward signed up for a second year of Cycling Smarts.
With newfound confidence, social skills and discipline, Edward entered his senior year of high school and applied for the Seinfeld Scholarship in Fall 2011. One of ten students out of thousands of applicants selected for the prestigious award, Edward enrolled at John Jay College and now studies for a career in criminal justice. Now an avid cyclist, the quiet, introverted child who once suffered from high blood pressure and ate junk food is now a healthy, confident and goal-oriented adult. Cycling Smarts “has changed my life. It has made me healthy, but more importantly, I learned not to quit. This attitude has changed me,” Edward proudly admits.
Startling statistics underscore the urgency to act NOW. New York State has the lowest high school graduation rates for African-American and Latino males. Almost two thirds of these students do not graduate from high school. New York City children are also more likely to be obese than their peers nationwide. Your contribution will help more students like Edward defy these odds.
Please, donate what you can. Your contribution will help pay the salaries of the coaches, like Coach Braswell who got Edward back on a bicycle and pedaling toward a healthier future. Your contribution will also pay for the bicycles and their ongoing maintenance that students like Edward have used to learn that every challenge is surmountable when you are focused, dedicated and diligent. In short, your contribution will help I Challenge Myself continue to help our students buck the odds by leading healthier lives and improving their educational outcomes.
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