The Cycle Effect empowers young women (ages 10-18) through mountain biking to create brighter futures and build stronger communities.
Our mission statement encompasses 3 major ideas that we take to heart:
-"Create brighter futures" We are helping our young women dream bigger and have higher expectations for their lives. Simply put, through mountain bike training and racing, our athletes realize that what they thought was impossible is in fact, possible through hard work and perseverance.
-"Build stronger communities" Our young women are out in the community volunteering and serving the community. We are integral in helping our young women find jobs, create community projects like building pump tracks, working on trails, and being an active part in the MTB community.
-Finally, we "Empower" them. Our young women are given opportunities for community service, public speaking, mentorship and goal setting. They receive over 80 days per year of highly personalized programming with our coaches, role models, and volunteers. Lastly, we help them find funding to attend college. Through our relationships with their schools, foundations and donors, we have been able to help send 100% of our graduates to college.
Brett Donelson, the Founder and Executive Director of The Cycle Effect saw that there were many kids in Eagle County that needed an outlet for a non-traditional after school activity and program, personal attention and an avenue to be mentored. An avid cyclist, Donelson appreciated the many life lessons learned through the challenges of mountain biking and sought to remove the financial and logistical barriers to mountain biking and getting kids, especially young women, into the outdoors. In 2010, our program began as a pilot under the umbrella of The Youth Foundation. Donelson found funding, sponsorship, donated equipment, coaching, and support for a new competitive mountain biking team. After 2 years of the program increasing physical fitness, mental and emotional stability, self-esteem, stress-management, teamwork and an increased focus in school, The Cycle Effect was born to take the concept to more kids in more areas. In 2012 The Cycle Effect became an independent 501(c)3 public charity. The first team, comprised mainly of lower-income Hispanic girls, participated in over 700 program days, community service days and a summer full of races. In 2014 the program expanded to Summit County.
Studies show that close to 30% of Colorado's high school women are not graduating. After 10+ years of schooling, our young women are dropping out of high school in 11th and 12th grade because they feel there's no hope. Over the past few years, we have discovered that our program has helped keep our girls in school and that 100% of our graduates have gone on to college. This was an unexpected result of our program, but focusing on college prep and finding our participants college funding is now one of our main goals. In 2014, we expanded our program to middle-school because we realized we could have a bigger impact on their lives starting at a younger age and that they had less outside commitments in middle-school. This has proven to be true and we are enrolling more middle-schoolers each year.
Donelson also knew that there are many great organizations that focus on reaching as many kids as possible, but often do not have the contact hours with each participant to really see a change. His past coaching experience has shown that often more time was needed per participant to create a lasting change.
"As a Mexican girl, I am supposed to be the second mom, help with my brothers and sisters, get married and have babies. I told my mom and dad that I wanted more than that out of my life. There is nothing wrong with that way of life for those who choose it, but it is not for me. I want to accomplish something on my own and I feel like I'm doing that through The Cycle Effect. Now, my little sister can't wait to join the team. That makes me so proud!" - The Cycle Effect athlete
"One of my coaches told me he was proud of me and that's the first time I've ever heard that in my life. I hope one day my family will get to come watch me race and see what I do and they'll tell me they're proud of me, too." - The Cycle Effect athlete.
"Every man, woman, and child should have the opportunity to realize his/her full potential; opportunities don't just happen, you create them. Our Valley is composed of a two-tier society - the well-off and those with limited financial resources - the latter being disproportionally Latino. We need to build opportunities for ALL to succeed and realize their full potential. The Cycle Effect levels the playing field by providing opportunity to those historically deprived of an equal chance to succeed and grow skills; kids who embrace this opportunity will thrive and prosper in all aspects of life." -Andy Littman, Attorney & Partner SLB Law and The Cycle Effect Board Member
"I've known many of these girls since I taught them in 8th grade. The change in them is profound. They now have an identity they didn't have before. They come to school and show off their road rash and their bruises with pride. The Cycle Effect has had a powerful, positive impact on their lives." - Robert Parish, Battle Mountain High School, Principal and The Cycle Effect Board Member