MILLEDGEVILLE — Trevion Belton, 13, has been a bicycling enthusiast for the past two years since joining the Baldwin Dream Team. Along with three other youth riders, he is in the midst of preparing to participate in the Bicycle Club of Milledgeville’s annual April Fools Ride with a 50-mile ride Saturday.
“When I first joined the Dream Team, I was [overweight],” said the Oak Hill Middle School eighth-grader. “In Milledgeville, there’s nothing that really represents Milledgeville, so it’s great to have an actual team to represent with.”
An Atlanta-based nonprofit, The Bicycle Ride Across Georgia (BRAG) Dream Team is a group of middle school students from across the state. BRAG sponsors the cross-state bicycle ride in June. Since its inception in 1994, 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, states the BRAG website.
“I got inspired in 2008 when I participated in BRAG. I learned about the Dream Team and I wanted to know if there was anything I could locally. Being a Big Brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters, I had access to young people, and then we just decided to start a local chapter in 2011,” said Dr. Doug Keith, an adult mentor and coordinator of the Baldwin Dream Team along with Joe Windish. “Our goal that year was to develop a core group of young riders to ride in the April Fools Ride in spring 2012. We had some bicycles donated, and the kids who reached that goal of riding that ride got to keep their bicycles.”
Local Dream Teams that complete BRAG each year get to keep their bike, helmet and other accessories. As Windish and Keith help prepare the current four members to complete the rigorous ride, Keith said BRAG cannot provide financial support to local Dream Teams this year.