While some people ride to get fit, Curtis Carmichael is riding across Canada this summer to share his story.
“Thirty legs, 3,300km from Vancouver to Halifax and the reason I wanted to do it was to raise awareness about kids in government housing and actually talk about the challenges and the injustices that a lot of kids face,” said Carmichael, co-founder of Ride for Promise.
Carmichael, now 24, said he grew up in Toronto Community Housing witnessing violence, drug abuse and crime. Yet against all odds, and with the support of a loving mother by his side, he received scholarships to Queen’s University, national awards for playing college football and this year he’s the mastermind behind Ride for Promise.
“I want to reach people in a way that challenges them to talk about the topics of race and privilege in society,” said Carmichael.
“But I also want to inspire kids to let them know that you are not defined by where you live and you’re not defined by your skin colour.”
While cycling for change, Carmichael said he is hoping to raise $150,000 for UrbanPromise Toronto. The organization is committed to supporting a generation of youth leaders like Carmichael from Toronto Community Housing, who can then restore their community.
“They’re just always around and that’s the rich part of an actual organization that provides mentorship for family support, especially for ages five to 25.”
By earning his teaching degree, Carmichael said he wants to rewrite the narrative by investing in the lives of young people who live on the margins like he once did.