Student makes 12,000 mile trek

Carolina Dezubiria

After a grueling six month, 12,000 mile cycle trek around the perimeter of the United States, Paul Sanchez arrived in Montecito, CA on Wednesday.
Paul, serene in composure and with a deep bronze tan, answered questions, posed for pictures, thanked the staff from City College, local media, and the Dyslexia Awareness and Resource Center along with Learning Disabilities of America. He stood alongside his fiancée, Romina and Kaiden, her 5 year old son.
Sanchez’s ride is a record breaking effort to bring awareness for children with learning disabilities.
Sanchez has struggled with his own dyslexia-undetected until he attended college-in shame and silence. “I always had difficulties in school,” he said. “I would turn letters around when I spelled. It was frustrating not to be able to communicate my thoughts on paper. Years of living with my undiagnosed learning disorder left me both frustrated and with very little hope.” According to the Learning Disabilities Association of America, a common characteristic among people with learning disabilities is uneven areas of ability, something they describe as “a weakness within a sea of strengths.” For instance, a child with dyslexia who struggles with reading, writing and spelling may be very capable in math and science.
Sanchez’s is an unparalleled effort to bring country-wide awareness to the devastating effects that undiagnosed learning disabilities have on children. Sanchez drew from his passion and experience in bicycling, promoting products and professional modeling to create Bright Future Tours, a collaborative effort to help children at risk.
With the cooperative efforts of LDA Paul mentored 12 children throughout the country who have also been diagnosed with learning disabilities.
According to LDA, a learning disability cannot be cured or fixed; it is a lifelong challenge. However, with appropriate support and intervention, people with learning disabilities can achieve success in school, at work, in relationships, and the community.
Janet Shapiro, coordinator of disabled student programs and services, said students with physical, mental and emotional disabilities have many different options to demonstrate what they have learned.
Lyn Paulos, assistant tech service provider at DSPS, demonstrated voice recognition technology. Along with new technology, City college has a writing assistant program. “The services for students with handicaps are here and we want to make people aware of them,” said Lynn.
As Paul recapitulated the trip his most deeply-felt message was to the children: “You can achieve your dreams!” Commenting on the trip itself, he closed by saying, “I left a lot of skin, blood, sweat, tears, loneliness, lonely nights and 35 pounds on the road.”