Ride to Thrive: Greenhouse Scholars and Venus de Miles Road Ride

Do you enjoy scenic bike rides, professional facials, yoga, live music and fabulous food, all while helping outstanding, low-income students receive an education?

Then mark your calendars for the Venus de Miles Bike Ride benefiting Greenhouse Scholars. This event has it all.

Greenhouse Scholars provides comprehensive personal and financial support to high-performing, under-resourced college students. The Venus de Miles is an ideal summer event for women that financially supports the organization.

Andra Pool, COO of the nonprofit, explains her passion for the cause. “As the first generation from my family to attend college, I’m particularly grateful for the premier education I received at Dartmouth College,” she says. “I’ve observed that it’s not an easy path for any of the students who are the first to earn that achievement.”

When her boss at the Boulder-based consulting firm Greenhouse Partners initiated a program to serve similar students, she immediately volunteered to help.

Eventually, she moved from the for-profit side of the business to help the nonprofit program grow, using a “Whole Person” approach.

In addition to financial support, Greenhouse Scholars receive mentorship, peer support, and professional networking support while they are in school. It’s working—Greenhouse Scholars have a college graduation rate of 89 percent, compared with just 11 percent for low-income college students nationally. Their GPAs average 30 percent higher than those of all college students nationwide, and these students are 30 percent more likely to find employment in their desired fields.

Academic success motivates them to give back, too. Greenhouse Scholars are racking up three times more community service hours than their peers.

“I am extremely proud of the results achieved as a community and by these inspiring students,” says program founder Peters Burridge. “We actively prepare today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders in both their professional endeavors and their communities.”

Greenhouse Scholars know how to help their students and how to bring the community together in support of them. After enjoying a huge following in Colorado, Greenhouse brought their signature Venus de Miles all women’s road ride to the North Shore to benefit their Illinois students. Touted as the “Best Cycling Event” in 2012 by Competitor Magazine, the event is on track to become a North Shore fixture.

This year’s event takes place on July 28 in Lake Forest and features two beautiful courses, long and short, through the North Shore as well as top-drawer green amenities (think race bibs made from recycled materials). Whole Foods will provide locally-grown organic food along the course and riders will be greeted at the finish line with professional facials and yoga, plus live music and beverages that make for a wonderful party. It’s a beautiful course and a great event but it’s not a race, bringing together the competitor and the leisure rider alike.

“Venus de Miles is a critical coming together of the community in support of these inspiring young leaders,” Burridge says.

Ride or volunteer this summer at illinois.venusdemiles.com

Learn more or offer support to Greenhouse Scholars by contacting Andra Pool [email protected]