Ana Reyes, Founder & Executive Director
Ana was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in the South Bronx and is a product of New York City public schools. Ana’s experience training for and completing a 3-day 286-mile bike tour from Boston to NYC, as a novice cyclist and non-athlete, planted the seed for I Challenge Myself. A former high school teacher and educator, she set out to design a similarly demanding endurance fitness challenge that would allow public high school students to tap into that “deep in the belly” strength that we all possess but oftentimes are unaware of its existence. She recognized the importance of helping youth connect with their inner strength during the critical period of adolescence in which they make formative decisions regarding lifestyles, identities and their futures. Under Ana’s leadership, I Challenge Myself has grown from a seasonal after school program with two part-time staff to thriving in-school and after school programs that challenge and support public high school students to push outside their comfort zones in a 100-miles 1-day bike tour, 2-hour fitness obstacle course or 400+ mile 7-day bike tour of colleges in upstate New York. Since its launch in 2005, I Challenge Myself has provided one-of-a kind experiences to over 1,000 high school students to strengthen their bodies, minds, spirits and develop habits and life skills that prepare them for college and the workforce. Prior to starting I Challenge Myself Ana was involved in the largest reform of NYC secondary schools through her work at New Visions for Public Schools. This initiative has resulted in the creation of over 80 small quality public high schools that have replaced the most under-performing comprehensive high schools in NYC. Ana holds a B.A. in English from George Mason University and an M.A. in Secondary Education from George Washington University. She has taught English and Spanish at high schools in Washington D.C and at a private high school and college in Culiacan, Mexico. Ana was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in the South Bronx and lives in New York City. Ana has been recognized as NY1's New Yorker of the Week, Home Reporter and Brooklyn Spectator 2014 Rising Stars Award, and the Hearts on Fire 2015 Visionary of the Year award.
Aliya Tyus-Barnwell, Program Associate/Coach
Aliya is a writer, cyclist and gamer with an interest in technology. A Brooklyn native, she has been enthusiastically commuting by bike for more than seven years. As a Youth Instructor for Bike New York, she believes cycling can be a positive influence on the mind as well as the waistline. Aliya has a English degree from Vassar College.