Ms. Brown’s Epic Bike Trip: One Florida Teacher Quits Her Job to Ride 4,000 Miles for a Good Cause


This article is one in a series at The 74 which profiles the heroes, victories, success stories and random acts of kindness to be found at schools all across America. Read more of our recent inspiring profiles at The74million.org/series/inspiring.

When Amanda Brown was teaching gifted math and science students at Alachua Elementary School, she noticed a correlation between her students’ quality of life and their academic performance.

“If you don’t have the basics of food and shelter, you can’t hope to attain the higher things,” Brown told The Gainesville Sun. “Their sense of self-worth kind of changes.”

So Brown put her teaching career on hold to instead first build awareness around these basics.

She and 29 other cyclists are now traveling 3,932 miles from Portland, Maine to Santa Barbara, California with Bike & Build in support increasing access to affordable housing.

“Tackling and adjusting the affordable housing cause is something that has to come first in order to help (low-income students) achieve,” Brown told The Independent Florida Alligator.

Along the way, the group is building houses and giving presentations about affordable housing.

Brown stops often to talk about her students and their need for stable housing to build a foundation for their academics.

“When you have kids that needs aren’t being met at home, whether hunger or homelessness, then it’s that much harder to teach them in the classroom,” Brown told the Alligator.

Brown is a graduate of University of Florida, where the Shimberg Center for Housing Studies reports that for every 100 extremely low-income households in Florida, there are just 31 affordable, available rental units.

If you’d like to get involved in affordable housing projects in your community, Brown recommends Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together.

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