The Ride for Change Bike Ride is inspired by Empowerment Squared’s executive director Leo Nupolu - Johnson, who spent eight years on refugee camps in West Africa as a child fleeing from civil war in his native Liberia and separated from his family. In 2006, he was resettled to Canada as a government - assisted refugee. In 2007, he founded Empowerment Squared with the vision of building a world where everyone is empowered with the tools and opportunities to thrive and contribute to society. Working with several partners, the organization carries out it’s work by empowering newcomer and marginalized youth and communities in Canada and across the world to succeed through mentorship, access to post-secondary education, information literacy, and sports and recreation.
With no experience at all in biking, Leo decided to take on the ride of his life as a way of stepping out of his comfort zone to engage the community in supporting and celebrating the transformational work of Empowerment Squared. Under Leo’s leadership, the organization has assisted over 1500 newcomer youth and families with settling in Canada, many of whom are now giving back to their various communities. The organization has also made significant progress towards ground-breaking for the Liberian Learning Center project which will house the first and only public library in the West African Nation of Liberia.
Despite surviving two refugee camps as child, for Leo, no achievement quite compares to the opportunity of providing access to education for thousands of youth and overcoming conflict, particularly within immigrant, refugee and similar underprivileged communities. “I decided I could either carry on with a victim mentality – or be a champion of possibilities.”
Together it is our goal to show that stepping out of our comfort zones is the catalyst for real change, so everyone regardless of cycling experience and age, can experience the collective power of people.
The goal is to raise $150,000 through tax deductible donations to help do the following:
Develop educational pathways for hundreds of newcomer and marginalized youth to successfully pursue post-secondary education
Empower 200 newcomer and marginalized parents to participate in and support their children’s education through information literacy
Expand programming space to absorb a waiting list of newcomer and marginalized youth into our academic mentoring programs
Provide access to supervised sports and recreation opportunities for hundreds of newcomer and marginalized youth
Construction of the first phase of the Liberian Learning Center which will house the first public library in the West African nation of Liberia in support of 350,000 youth