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Project Gives Youth Safe Landing

Retired professional BMX racer Tony Hoffman had seen too many friends and competitors exposed to unhealthy lifestyle choices at their local action sports parks. Hoffman believes the sports he loves are meant to be positive forces in the lives of young people, not destructive. In 2012, Hoffman founded the Freewheel Project, in California’s Fresno County, to help underserved youth who love to skate and ride.

Through programs that provide leadership skills, academic mentoring, substance abuse education and prevention, counseling services and personal finance education, Hoffman sought ways to help youth develop “healthy life choices in youth through action sports.”

The Freewheel Project’s B.A.R.S. program (Behavioral and Academic Restoration through Action Sports) enlists youth in an intensive six-month program. Mentors help local youth become positive leaders and better students (and say no to drugs) while teaching them how to shred on their bike or board.

Brani Valencia is one of B.A.R.S. success stories. According to Brani, teachers had labeled him one of their worst-performing students. Today, though, things have “switched to goofy footed” — that is, turned around. In six months, Brani raised his GPA by two full points. As a thriving high school freshman, he remains involved with the Freewheel Project as a mentor to younger kids.

We’re proud of Brani’s hard work and honored to continue supporting Hoffman’s important mission. To learn more about the Freewheel Project, or to volunteer, check out its website or “like” the Facebook page.

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