SoulScholars: Everything You Need to Know
t SoulCycle, we believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to feel like the best version of themselves. We provide a sanctuary where people can come as they are, unplug from their daily lives and experience the transformation that happens inside our studios.
We feel it is our responsibility to extend this philosophy into communities and to individuals that may not have direct access to that opportunity, which is why we launched our SoulScholars program in 2015. This 12-week program brings the joy of movement and benefits of fitness, along with the motivational and inspirational messaging from our instructors to underserved adolescents in New York, Chicago, D.C., and Los Angeles.
We work with a number of local schools and educational partners to run our program, which is free for all participants. Students attend classes twice a week and throughout the program participate in health, nutrition and job readiness workshops. We provide them with transportation, complimentary classes, all necessary workout gear, and healthy snacks, so all they have to focus on is showing up and being ready to bring the best version of themselves to class that day.
SoulScholars participate in our signature 45-minute SoulCycle classes twice a week during the program. Riding as part of our pack, they are welcomed into our community and they grow stronger, more confident and more motivated with every pedal stroke.
In addition to riding at SoulCycle, our Scholars attend workshops in nutrition, overall wellness, job readiness and college preparation. Each workshop is led by a SoulCycle staff member with proficiency in these areas. We encourage an open dialog so Scholars can ask questions that help us tailor these sessions to meet the Scholars’ needs.
We are grateful for support for our SoulScholars program. One hundred percent of all donations will be used to support the development of additional opportunities and services as well as the growth and expansion of our program. Your funds will enable more SoulScholars to ride in more studios and provide them access to transportation, clothing, water, healthy snacks and mentorship.
SoulScholars is a project of the New Venture Fund (NVF), created in partnership with SoulCycle. NVF is a 501(c)(3) public charity that incubates new and innovative public-interest projects and grant-making programs.
Erica Woda, Athletic Director at KIPP NYC and SoulScholars Leader, shares with SOUL the impact she has seen the SoulScholars program have on her students...
Why is a program like SoulScholars so important to the students you are serving at your school?
SoulScholars is an amazing physical and emotional outlet for my students. Soul is more than just an exercise class it is a spiritual and emotional journey that they look forward to week after week. I believe SoulScholars is pushing my students to realize their potential on and off the bike. They are getting to experience what it is like to be part of a team and the art of commitment; two life skills that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
You ride with the students every week, what changes have you seen in them?
Since we began our journey in late January I have seen our students and our staff form amazing bonds. This program has allowed our students to feel a part of something bigger than themselves. I have witnessed an enthusiasm for exercise, which is not always typical of high school aged students. There is nothing quite like a sing along with the students to Rihanna’s Stay after a long day at school! Those are moments of pure joy!
As an Athletic Director, what are the benefits of fitness and education that carry through to other pieces of the students lives?
SoulScholars will have a long term impact on our team of student-athletes, peer leaders, artists and musicians. The sheer ability to run out of their last class and board the train to get to class on time, is a valuable lesson in time management. Remembering all of their gear when most of our team has not participated in athletics in the past has been a lesson for them in organization. Seeing the students at lunch taking more vegetables and fruit because they have Soul later in the day has been a tremendous lesson for them in terms of choosing nutritional options – clearly they were also paying attention at the nutritional workshop hosted at Soul HQ. SoulScholars has opened our team to a fitness genre that they will hopefully incorporate into their lives along after they graduate this program.