A huge advantage to being an organization with a storied history and well-established presence throughout New York City is that great opportunities often come our way. That was the case with SoulCycle, a national fitness company that offers indoor cycling, or spin, classes.
The company founders started SOULSCHOLARSHIP last year as a way to give back to the community. The initiative brings teens to their cycle studios to take classes, learn about fitness and nutrition, and create opportunities for change in their lives.
Courtney Carrera-Ghatan, the assistant director for national medical and dental services in the CAS Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program, is leading the effort for Children’s Aid and asked our team to recruit 15 teens from both Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School in the Bronx and Urban Assembly Institute in Brooklyn for six-week programs that began over the summer.
The teens attended two mandatory classes each week. They also met with a nutritionist and took a work-readiness workshop to talk about interviewing and resumes. But the heart of the class was the exercise, led by SoulCycle instructors.
“It was unbelievable, truly life changing for these kids,” said Courtney. “At the end, the kids were able to articulate how they made better choices with food and health. But they also left with the feeling that they could do anything.”
The credit for that goes to the instructors. “They were supportive and kind and motivating, and they talked to our teens about how they could do anything,” said Courtney.
The “graduates” will now proceed to phase two of the initiative: twice-a-month rides with a mentor for several months. After that, they have lifetime access to take SoulCycle classes, an amazing benefit.
In the meantime, Courtney is putting together another 30 students for a second class of SOULSCHOLARSHIP participants. And she can’t recommend it enough. “SoulCycle really made this like a family.