On May 7, a group of avid cyclists will have an amazing opportunity to ride through New York City traffic-free, traversing the the FDR, the BQE, and the Verrazano Bridge along with many other city streets. Literacy Partners is proud of our team of 11 riders who will bike 40 miles across all five boroughs. Our riders have already collectively raised nearly $10,000 to support our work to provide free literacy and language classes to low-income parents as well as home libraries of children’s books for each of their families. Who are our riders, and why are they biking for books?
Tina, who has run for charity in the past, is participating in her first charity ride as part of Team Literacy Partners. Tina teaches ESL and does marketing for a solar company. She chose to bike for literacy because “having a strong foundation in literacy is a main key to success.” Tina loves reading in a variety of languages. When not on her bike or reading, she can be found doing yoga, hiking, cooking, and creative writing and going to the oceanside.
Jessica Prohias Gardiner
Jessica, a NYC public school teacher, identifies with Literacy Partners: a majority of her students read and write below grade level, are the first in their families to graduate from high school, and come from backgrounds similar to those who take classes through Literacy Partners. An avid reader, Jessica loves bringing new books into the classroom to share with her students. This is Jessica’s first time participating in a charity ride, and she is most excited about biking throughout New York City–and especially over the Verrazano Bridge–with no cars. A retired ballet dancer, Jessica also loves to take yoga and barre classes, drink classic cocktails, and travel.
Carmel has worked in education for about 18 years, and is committed to closing the educational opportunity gap for youth and adults. The first member of her family to go to college, Carmel not only has worked towards providing access to education; she has seen the need firsthand. She chose to bike for literacy because “access to educational opportunities improves life outcomes.” She saw the opportunity to ride in the TD Five Boro Bike Tour for Literacy Partners as a “perfect match” of her love of reading and of cycling. For Carmel, biking and knitting provide a rhythmic distraction from daily stressors, as do exploring NYC parks and being out in the sun.
Vishal, a software engineer, is biking for books because he believes that “giving people the tools to control their own destiny through education is great and benefits not only the families receiving the help, but in the long term all of society.” Sometimes, these tools and opportunities are taken for granted, but he acknowledges that “having basic literacy can open up many doors for people.” Vishal is looking forward to biking with the team on car-free streets throughout Manhattan and on the Verrazano Bridge. In addition to biking, Vishal enjoys basketball and snowboarding.
A former ESL teacher, Anne is biking for Literacy Partners to support the organization’s classes and resources for immigrant families. Now the Director of Visual Merchandising and Store Design for Givenchy Beauty, Anne is excited to participate in her first charity ride and especially to bike through Manhattan.
Click here to donate to any of our riders’ individual fundraising pages. We look forward to seeing them bike for books on May 7!