Organization: El Grupo Youth Cycling
Address: 23 W. Fourth St., Tucson, 85705
El Grupo Youth Cycling empowers youth through bicycles by fostering values that support youth both on and off the bike, now and in the future. For over 13 years, El Grupo has taught respect, personal responsibility and healthy life choices to thousands of Tucson youth.
We use the bicycle as a means for positive youth development, especially for at-risk youth, through year-round and after-school programming. This year, over 120 kids participated in weekly after-school programs utilizing cycling to develop healthy lifestyle skills.
Throughout the year, El Grupo engages over 1,000 kids through after-school programs, summer bike camps and working with other kids at the Boys and Girls Club or at Manzo Elementary School.
El Grupo is building leaders by empowering today’s youth who lead bike activities for other young people at community events.
Of those participants, 62 percent were on financial scholarship.
El Grupo is committed to having a diverse group of riders from all walks of life and abilities, which is made possible with community support. Donors can designate their Arizona Charitable Tax Credit to help El Grupo fund rider scholarships, coaches and after-school programs throughout the community.
For some families, El Grupo is a lifeline that makes a difference to the whole family.
“I have become more confident in who I am without feeling that I needed to prove myself,” says Ana Quintana Bernal, an El Grupo youth cyclist. “El Grupo has helped me realize that life should not always be like riding into a headwind, that sometimes it’s OK to let yourself take it easy and just feel the wind in your hair.”
Ana and her brother, Gerardo Quintana Bernal, both receive rider scholarships funded in part by charitable tax donations, which are helping them excel both on and off the bike.
El Grupo works with kids 7 to 18 and meets them where they’re at, helping them to develop integrity, responsibility and personal strength. Learning bike skills is a significant component of the program, but the power is in the personal growth that each rider achieves. Confidence, self-awareness, leadership and personal discipline are just some of the values that each rider gains.
Community support helped Ana find a “home” and learn to bring balance to her life through El Grupo Youth Cycling. El Grupo is looking to the community to help other kids, on and off the bike, to excel and become tomorrow’s community leaders. The tax-credit designation is helping us reach youth throughout the community and change their lives.