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March 30, 2011

Bike Talk Radio interviews Julie

Last August our CYCLE Kids Executive Director Julianne Idlet interviewed with Bike Talk Radio, a broadcast program that discusses all aspects of the world of cycling. The hour-long show airs every other Sunday at 8:30 PM. Topics range from advocacy to professional racing.

The interview touched upon all aspects of CYCLE Kids. Starting from an idea, the CYCLE Kids program now reaches over 1,000 children each year. Seven years ago Julie was reading about America’s obesity epidemic. She was especially shocked at the degree it affected youth. Obesity in young children is typically the result of a lack of exercise and unhealthy food choices, which made Julie remember her own childhood and how she was able to stay active and healthy by riding her bike. Unfortunately, it seemed most children didn’t have that opportunity whether because of ready access to TV and video games, or living in unsafe neighborhoods. Julie decided something needed to be done about it.

Initially, Julie did not know the first thing about starting and running a nonprofit organization. She started with a PowerPoint presentation that explained how to ride a bike and how to live a healthy lifestyle. Julie was able to get in front of a group of kids in an afterschool program and try out her first CYCLE Kids curriculum. After working with students from the 3rd to 8th grades, she determined that students in the 4th and 5th grades would be the best audience for the type of lesson provided by CYCLE Kids.

CYCLE Kids was immediately off to a successful start! The demand for the program was so great, Julie soon owned 60 bikes and was teaching in six different afterschool programs. It became clear in order for the program to grow and reach a wider audience, the next step would be to implement it during the school day in physical education classes.

The Bike Talk Radio interview touches upon the fact that parents today are more fearful of the possible dangers in their neighborhoods, and are hesitant to allow their children outside by themselves to play. This contributes to making today’s youth increasingly sedentary, which in turn is detrimental to their physical activity and overall health.

Currently, CYCLE Kids finds schools and communities that want to implement a CYCLE Kids program, then raises the funds needed to provide the school with all of the necessary equipment and teaching materials. The goal is to have a pool of funds available so communities can apply to CYCLE Kids via a grant process to receive programs for their schools.

Pre and post assessments are part of the CYCLE Kids program, which allows for an evaluation of the impact of the curriculum on children. We have discovered that in just eight classes every student is able to successfully ride a bike. Furthermore, kids develop bonds with local police officers that help teach the program. The CYCLE Kids curriculum also touches on literacy and mentoring activities in addition to teaching the importance of being physically active and making good nutrition choices.

CYCLE Kids wants to implement more programs within the Greater Boston and NYC areas. We would love to make CYCLE Kids a nationally recognized program, and are seeking the necessary resources to efficiently make this happen. Any kind of donation is greatly appreciated, as well as contact with potential sponsors and communities interested in using our program.

You can hear more about CYCLE Kids and it’s journey of growth and how you individually can help, by listening to the interview: []


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