Hello, everybody! My name is Brandon and I'm a new team member here at CicLAvia – I’ve been here 3 weeks now. This past Friday, I experienced why CicLAvia is as special as it is. Don’t get me wrong - I’ve felt it when I ride the CicLAvia events, and I’ve heard it in the conversations about opening streets across LA. But now- being part of the team - I see the heart behind what we do.
This past Friday, I was part of the CicLAvia Gives Program. The program was started last year, when CicLAvia gave 30 bikes to kids across Los Angeles who were nominated. Since then, the Gives program has continued at each of the CicLAvia events in 2016.
This holiday season, CicLAvia partnered with Pure Cycles (an awesome bike company based in Burbank) to bring CicLAvia Gives to youth leaders of Street Poets, Inc. I was so excited to see Michael, Pure Cycles founder, this Friday, and tell him that I ride one of his bikes (I’m car-free) as my main form of transportation. His warm smile and big handshake let me know he was excited as we were for what was to come.
Michael and his team donated 10 bikes to 10 youth in Street Poet Inc.’s Leadership Council. These youth gather together often to talk about what’s going in their personal lives, their communities, and many other things that help their growth process. I know firsthand how important and meaningful the work of Street Poets is – I was a product of their amazing program. Street Poets helps youth heal and find their own voices all over Los Angeles, and the world. They work in high schools, juvenile correctional facilities, and they’ve been to Africa, Ireland, Mexico, Belize, India, and several Native American communities. The Street Poets program has helped so many youth, like me, find our voices and confidence in the complex world we live in.
I was supposed to be taking pictures of the event, but I just couldn’t help chatting with and mentoring the youth at every chance I got. That’s the connection and affection we have for one another – a strong familial feeling that makes me want to be there for them and guide them. But, thankfully, I did manage to snap some good pictures.
So, what happens when you bring three amazing organizations together – CicLAvia, Street Poets, Inc., and Pure Cycles? We all act like kids getting their first bike on their birthday.
Here are few happy young leaders. Our inner kid comes out when we get a new bike.
Favio noted that he used to walk in stores that had huge bike sections, but had to leave with nothing. He told us how happy he was to be able to finally walk in a room full of bikes and get to pick one out as his own.
As you can see, Favio's very happy, and that makes us happy.
Edgar told to us that he was used to being a “window-shopper” – always able to look, but never able to buy. Today, that changed: he was finally able to own a bike that he really loved.
Jaynese fell in love with her bike and even named her – She christened her “Whitney Butter.”
Viviana told us she’s never had an experience like this before. She's excited to use her bike to get back and forth from school, as it currently takes her two hours to get there on the bus.
Marquise was super excited by his new beach cruiser, and said he could picture himself riding along next to his lady and having a great day together.
And at the end of the night, after some poetry, we all came together to celebrate in this group picture.
Thank you for supporting CicLAvia so we can continue to keep our community rolling.