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BRAG Dream Team

Metro Atlanta Cycling Club (MACC) donation to the BRAG 2010 Dream Team

Atiba Leader

The BRAG Dream Team is a group of middle school students from cities across Georgia. BRAG sponsors the Dream Team on its annual cross-state bicycle ride in June. Since its inception in 1994, an average of 10 middle school students from low-income families have been selected to participate on the Dream Team and have received bicycles, helmets, shorts and other accessories, complimentary meals and waived registration fees.


Photo by Roz Moore

REI

The students are assigned adult mentors and coaches who help them for this rigorous ride. If the Dream Team members complete BRAG, they get to keep their bike, helmet and other accessories. Over 100 students from Georgia middle schoolers are proud BRAG Dream Team alumni.

BRAG Dream Team, Inc. is an IRC section 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization. To make a tax-deductible donation to the Dream Team, click here for a donation form.

2011 – Shifting Into A Higher Gear

The dream lives on in its 18th year!

In 2011, thanks to the REI Foundation support the Dream Team will expand to a new level by developing cycling clubs at several Atlanta high schools and recreation centers. Over the course of the year, more than 250 teenagers will participate in Dream Team led rides to area colleges, farmers markets and organized cycling events. With the support of BRAG, REI, MACC, Cafe Campesino and Team Geek, the Dream team will grow by leaps and bounds.

To honor the memory of BRAG veteran Mike Quillin, who passed away in January and asked his family and friends to support the Dream Team, the 2011 Dream Team on BRAG will include middle school students from the host towns of Oxford, Milledgeville, Dublin and Savannah.

This will be the first time ever that the Dream Team will have middle school students from along the route that BRAG has scoped out.

Look for a link to the new Dream Team website in the spring.

It will feature monthly events and accomplishments as the cycling program expands to high schools, recreation centers and towns across Georgia.

2010 - A Year to Remember

In December 2010, the Dream Team closed the year on a high note after
climbing higher and higher every season.

Winter was marked by the establishment of a cycling club at Drew Charter School that attracted more than 20 students every week, rain or shine. Thanks to support from one of the Dream Team’s co-founders, Don Doran, who is the Principal at Drew Charter School, this club is growing in its second year of operation.
And the spring season provided ample training time for BRAG 2010, where history was made in Columbus, GA when Tavion Morris became the youngest Dream Team member (at 12 years of age) to complete the BRAG Century ride! He was the only youth member riding with six adults making their first century ride.

In the summer, Tavion (middle school) and three other Dream Team alumni - Dallas Head (middle school), Muhammad Abdullah (high school) and Aaron Rogers (high school) - kept pace with their Dream Team coaches (Greg Masterson, Neil Walker, Holly Rhodes, Nichelle Williams, Bruce Morton and Atiba Mbiwan) on an 800 mile trek along the Underground Railroad Bike Trail from Mississippi to Ohio.

Dream Team

At the end of the autumn season, the first ever Dream Team Alumni Lunch Banquet was held at Maggiano's Buckhead Restaurant on December 18th. Twenty-one alumni and 30 adult coaches, sponsors and supporters turned out for a wonderful reunion. This event was made even richer when sponsor representatives from REI presented a $10,000 check from the REI Foundation to support a year round youth cycling program. The grant funds will be used to purchase a used cargo van, road bikes for coach leaders, tents and sleeping bags for overnight rides.

Dream Team Corner October 2009

On BRAG I had a ton of fun.  I enjoyed getting back to my old habits and riding a bike again.  My favorite part of the trip was when we stayed on campuses in the tents.  What made it even cooler was I got my own tent for part of the time.  What I didn’t like was the hills, but I pushed myself and made it through over and over again.  Overall, I had a blast and made a whole lot of friends.

-Cienna Minniefield-

Dream Team Corner
March 2009

A seed was planted in 1992 when my friend and flight attendant, Adrienne, shared a Delta magazine article that described BRAG.  After reading it and thinking about my cross state bike rides in Rhode Island and New England in the 1980s, I bragged - "I can do this...if I can find the time off!

"In 1995, I was in North Carolina trying to desperately complete a high ropes course organized by Outward Bound when the instructor told me - "You have reached the end of this course and now you must make a Big Goal, then jump off this platform and swing your way back down to the ground."

The moment of reckoning had arrived - "This is the year I will do BRAG!"

This promise did not mention anything about caring for kids but soon after registering for BRAG my friend and colleague, Jose, asked me - "Do you want to be a mentor for this Dream Team group that we take on BRAG?" Since I had already registered, I said I'm committed to going so if you need an extra hand just call me.  At first, he told me that they had enough mentors but two weeks before BRAG I received a distress call - "We need you because one of the teachers can't ride."  On that BRAG ride from Rome to Augusta, I met Harold Head, Don Doran and Jeff Cramer, the co-founders of the Dream Team who helped Jerry Colley implement his dream of a BRAG program for underserved youth.

In the past fourteen years, I have traveled from a last minute sub to dedicated mentor to Dream Team Coordinator to Dream Team Coach...and led over 125 teenagers on BRAG, Bike South 2000 and RAGBRAI with the help of some dedicated adults, like Kevin, Bruce, Phyllis & Charles, and the list goes on.

 

Without the luxury of dedicated staff to track Dream Team alumni, we have been blessed to cross paths with our former team members and they are proof that it works.

The perseverance, self-discovery and sense of accomplishment on BRAG has helped many young people survive middle school, thrive in high school and go off to college.

Let's keep the Dream Team alive so that dreams can come true again and again and again!

-Coach Atiba-

Atiba Mbiwan is a professional in the philanthropy field (Associate Director of The Zeist Foundation) when he is not volunteering for BRAG.

Dream Team Corner February 2009

The BRAG Dream Team was established at BRAG 1994 by the organizing group of Jerry Colley, Harold Head, Don Doran, and Jeff Cramer. The purpose was to give selected middle school students from low-income families a positive experience with a major goal: riding a bicycle across the state of Georgia.

The BRAG Dream Team has advanced to where bicycles, helmets, cycling clothing, water bottles, etc. are provided by sponsors, such as REI, and adult mentors, under the leadership of Coach Atiba Mbiwan, train the youth to ride safely and focus on achieving goals. If the Dream Team youth member rides the total distance on BRAG, he/she earns the right to keep the bicycle as a reward for meeting the goal.

In the months leading up to BRAG 2009, we will focus on the 2009 Dream Team nominees as well as Dream Team alumni and mentors whose lives have been touched and shaped by the BRAG Dream Team experience. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the BRAG Dream Team and we hope to highlight its accomplishments over the years by asking probing questions: What are some of their thoughts as they train for the Bicycle Ride Across Georgia? Do they dread or embrace the challenge of climbing the hills? How does long distance cycling prepare one for school success? How are the students selected for the Dream Team? Look for the answers and more in the following month.

 

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