A note from our founder and executive director, Tom Hanley
This year has gone by in a blur, and as we roll into December we have only two program days scheduled between now and the holiday break as we buttoned up the bulk of our schools leading into Thanksgiving.
It’s been a pretty unbelievable year as documented throughout this blog, each day we’ve been privileged to work with students, adults, Special Olympic athletes, families, the under-served. We’ve done that one rider at a time, and since January, have created opportunity for over 24,000 interactions on our bicycles comprised of over 7,000 individual people. Of those, about 5,500 were students that came through our multi-week Kids Riding Bikes program and the remaining 1,500+ were folks we interacted with at the Special Olympics Summer Games, the WTHR Health Expo, or the other 20 community events we’ve been part of this year.
Compared to 2014, we’ve grown our programming delivery by 20%, having served just over 20,000 interactions last year.
As we look towards 2016, we are working hard to triple that number with our new operation teams deploying. With three fully functional teams serving Central Indiana, I anticipate well over 75,000 interactions in the 2016 calendar year and that scaling to about 90,000 interactions in 2017.
It’s been a journey that has seen us roll up our sleeves, work hard to secure sponsors and funding, and deliver the best programming possible to the youth we interact with. Our staff knows we can never have a bad day at the office because it’s not just Nine13sports, it’s the concept to the students that the bicycle is a lifelong tool for health and fitness and that we’re representing our corporate partners, foundations, and donors that we’re delivering to our participants.
When I launched Nine13 way back in 2012, we created just over 5,000 interactions in that first year. Since then, it’s been a pretty wild ride with continuous growth, lots of unknowns, and program demand that has outpaced funding solutions.
What have I learned from the students I interact with on a daily basis? Everything. They’re a constant reminder that what we do is for them and to help them and that we’re just fortunate to spend the time we do with them. We’re here to show them that hard work makes a difference, that they can do anything they put their minds and effort into, and that no matter what is going on in their life health always has to be at the top of the list of priorities.
The only thing holding us back from further growth is funding solutions to support it. We’ve created a demand within the school districts that is high, and I expect it to only grow as we become even more visible in the community over the coming year. We’re working at a feverish pace behind the scenes to grow our budget accordingly and continue to deliver Kids Riding Bikes programs at no cost to every school district.
Thanks to everyone who has made this year possible, I can’t wait to show you what we have in store for the year to come.