Success Stories

I participated in the i-tri program from sixth to eighth grade. Even though I was an active athlete participating in competitive gymnastics, junior lifeguarding, surfing, stand up paddling, long distance bike riding and dancing, I had no confidence in my athletic ability and as I entered the sixth grade the social dynamic of middle school became daunting. I doubted myself athletically, academically and socially. Through my participation in i-tri, I gained the courage and self-worth to stand up for myself and be me. The i-tri coaches and the team of girls I participated with helped me acknowledge and identify my strengths. This sense of confidence that I developed during I-tri came as a result of small group chats with girls and learning creative visualizations and affirmations. There is another gift that i-tri has given me. For the last four years I have been given the opportunity to mentor the new i-tri girls. Mentoring has given me the chance to give back to a program that I love and believe in. It is an incredibly rewarding feeling to know that I am teaching the girls a way to transport themselves independently in the world. It is amazing to watch a girl who has never ridden a bike, ride into the distance for the first time. I remember the first year I crossed the finish line how exhilarated and empowered I felt. Now, every year, I get to ride alongside the girls encouraging and supporting them during the seven-mile bike ride. I witness their heightened sense of confidence in both their physical and emotional endurance and strength, and I am so grateful to be a part of it. I can honestly and wholeheartedly say I am the person I am today because of i-tri.

Tali, Studying Pre-Med at Butler University. I-TRI 2012, 2013 & 2014

I was running as fast as my legs could possibly carry me, tears streaming down my face. I am almost there. I hear the cheers and sprint through the finish line. I hug Theresa Roden as one of my friends jumps on my back. This is the best moment of my life. I accomplished something I never thought I could do: Hamptons Youth Triathlon.  I reluctantly signed up for the i-tri program in February of 2016. A timid sixth grade girl who hated running, was as far from athletic as it gets, could not ride a bike – I had just agreed to swim 300 yards, bike seven miles, and run a mile and a half. But as time went on, I began to believe in myself. With each stride or stroke I took I became more and more determined.  May rolled around and it was time to do the thing I feared most, riding a bike. I crashed straight into a huge pine tree, pulled myself out of the tree and kept riding. Soon it was race day. I was scared out of my mind yet I knew I could finish. I got in the water and swam my 300 yards, then I rode my bike the full seven miles. Finally, I ran the mile and a half run. That was when I cried. I ran across the finish line. I was so proud of myself!  The story does not end there. I returned and completed two more triathlons. All of the coaches have become a huge part of my life and Theresa became like my second mom. i-tri gave me hope. I say this because throughout the years I did i-tri I was bullied and put down by my peers.  i-tri became a light in the darkness for me. Today, I am an alumni coach who is honored to help the girls become more confident and how to use my light to make other’s light shine brighter.

Juliana, i-tri Alumnae Coach. I-TRI 2016, 2017 & 2018

My name is Tiffanie and I did i-tri at Springs School in 6th, 7th and 8th grade. When I was very young, my dad was abusive to my mom. Eventually she was able to get herself, my brother and me out of a bad situation. As a result, I had a hard time trusting people and letting anyone really get to know the real me. I struggled with insecurity -never felt that I was good enough, pretty enough or smart enough. This all changed when I joined i-tri.  i-tri taught me how to love and appreciate myself and to be a light in the world. In i-tri we do not only build our muscles, we build relationships with the coaches and the other girls and learn to trust and accept each other. During my second triathlon, my friend Sara had a spill on her bike. I pulled over and stayed with her. An EMT with the Springs Fire Department told me to get back on my bike and finish the race. She said Sara was fine and that she would take good care of her. But, I did not want to leave Sara’s side. I watched closely as she comforted my friend and checked her from head to toe. At some point Karen noticed how closely I was observing what she was doing and turned to me and said, “You are going to make a great EMT someday.” That stuck with me. My grandmother had been an EMT with the Springs Fire Department. I am presently a senior at EH High School, and plan to go to College in the Fall. In September, I applied and was accepted into the Springs Fire department and I am presently training to be a firefighter and an EMT. I will be the youngest female firefighter/EMT in Springs history. During that race I learned how good it feels to be able to help someone. The events of that day and my experiences as an i-tri girl have inspired me to follow my dreams.  It takes hard work and dedication but I believe in myself and i-tri!

Tiffanie, Training to be a firefighter and an EMT. I-TRI 2013, 2014 & 2015

When I was 10, I joined i-tri. My parents thought it would help me to make friends and feel better about myself. I guess they knew that I was at a low point. Middle School was really hard. I felt alone. But what I quickly learned in i-tri was that all of the girls were feeling the same way. I was not alone. i-tri is an empowerment program where you train your mind, body and spirit to complete a youth triathlon. Yes, I just said a TRIATHLON. Now, let’s be clear; I was NOT an athlete at ten years old, far from it. But I realized that wasn’t the point. Throughout the school year we would meet once a week for “Empowerment Sessions.” Each week we did a different activity, but they all had the same goal; to help us realize that we could do anything!!!!  On Saturdays, we got together with i-tri girls from neighboring schools to train.  We swam, biked and ran. Although I was never the best or the fastest, I knew that week by week I was getting stronger and closer to my goal of crossing the finish line. On race day I was queasy, nervous and scared. I didn’t think I could do it. Walking down to the water was surreal. We had been practicing for, and visualizing this moment for months. I looked around and all of the girls were feeling the same way, but as soon as the whistle blew the adrenaline just kicked in and before I knew it I was finishing the swim.  Next came the bike. I flew, SEVEN MILES, took off my helmet and started to run. This was the hardest part for me, but I remembered what I had learned in the “empowerment sessions” about being able to do anything and I pushed through. I will never forget the feeling of crossing the finish line. I ran and ran … right into the arms of my parents who had tears running down their faces. I asked them why they were crying and they said, “Because we are SO PROUD OF YOU!” That moment changed me. I really knew that it was true that I could do anything that I set my mind to and worked hard to achieve. The next year, I came back as a mentor. It was rewarding to be able to see girls who were just like me at the start, transform into confident, strong young women. When I entered high school, I trained to become a lifeguard. Now, on race day, I enter the water with girls who are queasy and nervous and scared and I look them in the eye and tell them,” Remember YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!!!” Then the whistle blows and they’re off.

Pamela, Studying Education at Oneonta State University of New York. I-TRI 2013, 2014 & 2015

I remember walking my daughter to the starting line of the race. Seeing all the girls prepping for the triathlon it hit me like a ton of bricks: the energy of excitement, nervousness, determination that was in the air just brought tears to my eyes. The girls were helping each other, hugging their parents; the coaches greeted each girl with such care and concern. This triathlon is so more than just a race. It is a life journey for each girl, an awakening of strength, willpower and courage. In a short period of time i-tri became I-CAN as each and every one of those girls crossed the finish line.

Carmen, IANNA'S MOM, I-TRI 2019

In middle school, I was picked on for being shorter than everyone else. Self-conscious and anxious, I avoided social events. Friends did not come easily. i-tri impacted my life tremendously. I made new friendships that have lasted throughout high school. Through the empowerment workshops and weekend training and the affirmations, I became confident, self-empowered, and learned to accept myself for whom I was and not listen to other people’s negative opinions. The Fitness component of i-tri definitely has affected my life for the better. Not only did i-tri help me to realize I am a strong person inside and out, i-tri has helped me become a positive person, a leader, and someone who can uplift others.

Erin, Studying Nutrition at Texas Christian University. I-TRI 2012