Our May Volunteer Spotlight is one of our superstar team captains and TriLatino Triathlon Juniors Youth Development Program leader, Jerusha.
what volunteering means to her
We asked Jerusha what volunteering with Bike New York meant for her, and her response truly resonated with us:
“Volunteering for Bike New York is always a guaranteed way to have a day start off on the right foot followed by meaningful moments with regular people brave enough to ride the streets of New York as long as they have company to lead the way. It’s a way to use my bike handling skills for something other than racing triathlons. It’s a way to give back and support the community that is vested in contributing to our health and mental well-being. It’s, by far, a great way to spend my day.”
Favorite bike New York memory
I have two and cannot decide between them because they both were great moments…
I’m part of a non-profit organization, the TriLatino Triathlon Juniors Youth Development Program. Every year, we take Bronx high school students and over the course of 20 weeks, teach them how to swim, bike and run, transforming them into triathletes. We volunteer as a group for the TD Five Boro Bike Tour as course marshals, and it is a joy to see the faces of our Juniors when they realize how large the community of cyclist enthusiasts are in this city. They feel motivated to become cyclists, learn about bike safety, and really take pride in wearing their reflective course marshal vests. I’m there to watch their world expand as the day unfolds.
The first memory I got to make this year was that we had a few wonderful firsts. For the first time, one of the Juniors in the program rode the entire course with her family. We got to cheer for her as she passed us going through the Bronx. Also, for the first time, three of our volunteers brought their mothers with them. The mothers truly enjoyed the chance to be part of this. This will be a highlight for many years.
The second moment happened while I was directing riders and cheering for them as they climbed the Madison Avenue Bridge. Amazingly, in that sea of humanity wearing helmets, I spotted a dear friend that I had not seen in years. We met at church when I was young, and he was a recent graduate of college. Growing up in the Bronx, very few people rode bicycles — mostly just down the street you lived on. He was the first person I knew that rode a bike everywhere. He rode it to work, school and even to church. He was so enthusiastic about cycling that he started to organize bike rides for the teens from my church. The first trip we rode from the Bronx, through Manhattan, into Brooklyn, all the way to Coney Island and that opened my eyes to exploring my city with a bicycle. I was hooked. His bike rides were the reason why I lost my fear of riding in the streets and I fell in love with cycling.
When I saw him at the Tour, I yelled his name. He looked, stopped and pulled over to the side. I ran over and for the first time, I got the chance to thank him for the influence he had on me and how his positive attitude towards cycling encouraged me to adopt the same posture. He changed my life by sharing his cycling habit so naturally. It felt great to give him credit for planting the seed.
That’s why I am so grateful for the opportunity to volunteer, year after year. It’s an event that makes volunteering memorable and completely worthwhile. No other event in this city makes that possible, and it’s why I am so appreciative of Bike New York and so willing to give back.
To join a community of amazing volunteers like Jerusha, check out our open volunteer opportunities!