Story Riders (SR) is an after-school program that combines culturally-based education with literacy skill-building tied to specific bicycle activities. For two hours, twice a week, 5th grade students receive educational and cultural experiences that give them a “deep dive” into their culture and history, as well as educational presentations about environmental sciences, while building their physical skills and literacy competency through bicycle rides in the middle Rio Grande region. Story Riders targets 4th and 5th grade students from elementary schools in low-income, Chicano/Mexicano neighborhoods.
30% of New Mexico's children are at or below the poverty level, much greater than the national average of 21%
77% of 4th graders are not proficient in reading
32.6% of our kindergarten and 29.6% of our third-grade students are either overweight or obese.
1. To improve students’ educational competencies
2. To improve students' health and physical abilities
3. To increase students’ knowledge of their own community’s local history, cultures, and physical environments.
Creating a sense of community
Students learn about the history, the peoples, the environment, and the places that make their communities vibrant, culturally rich, historically significant, and environmentally important. Also, parents, guardians, and/or other family members are invited to join their children on bicycle rides to give families opportunities to ride bicycles together--activities the families can continue beyond Story Riders.
“When your parents or grandparents are sharing information with you, like warning you not to do something or showing you how to do something…This is important for our communities so that we learn our traditions and our cultures and that we keep them going. It’s also important to learn about other people’s cultures and other people’s traditions…
A lot of hate comes from fear and fear comes from not understanding. So if we learn to understand people better, not just people from our culture or people who are like us, but people who are really different than us, then we’ll learn a lot about them and gain understanding.” (Alicia Chavez, Barelas Community resident/historian, Spring Semester, 2017)