Neighborhood Center to hold silent auction to benefit youth cycling program

The Youth Off-Road Riders Cycling Program
Youth Off-Road Riders hit the trails! – photo courtesy of Anne Duggan

The Youth Off-Road Riders Cycling Program of the Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County is hosting a silent auction on Friday March 7 at the Terry Trueblood Recreation Center from 6-9 p.m. Attendees will bid on local goods to help cover equipment and transportation costs of the program.

Youth Off-Road Riders was founded in March, 2012 by Tony Branch, an employee of Neighborhood Centers. Branch had the idea to teach kids about cycling by taking children on RAGBRAI. His idea morphed into a program for youth that educates teens about competitive and noncompetitive cycling.

Participants train with Branch and other volunteers beginning in February, riding indoors on stationary bikes and moving outdoors when the weather allows. World of Bikes in Iowa City donates bicycles for them to use during the spring and summer.

“[Cost is] a barrier right off the bat for kids from certain backgrounds,” Branch said. “I just want to help eliminate that and give kids who have an interest in cycling an opportunity to explore that interest.”

Students involved in the program also learn valuable skills to use in the classroom. Learning how to set goals for oneself is one skill that they take back to the classroom, Branch says.

Branch expressed gratitude toward the Iowa City community for helping to support and expand the program and he looks forward to seeing how many people attend the silent auction in March.

Update (1/24/14): A previous version of this article listed an incorrect time for the silent auction. The silent auction is held from 6-9 p.m. (rather than 6-7 p.m. as previously stated). Little Village apologizes for this error.

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