Cascade Hires Two Program Officers to Expand Youth Bike Education Statewide
In 2022, Washington state selected Cascade Bicycle Club to help deliver school-based bike education to youth statewide, modeled on Cascade’s Let’s Go and Major Taylor Project programs.
Cascade has hired two Program Officers–Jacquelyn “Jax” Billups and Tina Castillo–to lead this initiative serving students from elementary through high school starting with “overburdened communities and high need school districts.”
Two women recently hired by Cascade Bicycle Club will be at the forefront of a historic effort to expand bike education to schools and students across Washington state.
Jacquelyn “Jax” Billups and Tina Castillo will work as program officers in the Education Department as Cascade implements the new School-Based Bicycle Safety Education Program created by last year’s Move Ahead Washington legislation.
Castillo fills the new position of In-School Bike Education Program Officer, and Billups will serve as the new Youth Development Program Officer.
The new statewide youth bike education initiative will have two programs: one serving grades three through eight, and another serving junior high and high school students. The curriculum for elementary and middle school students will be based on Cascade’s “Let’s Go” and “Let’s Go Further” programs currently serving thousands of students in Seattle and Edmonds.
The junior high and high school programming is inspired by Cascade’s Major Taylor Project (MTP), which empowers youth through after-school bicycling clubs and build-a-bike programs in South Seattle and Tacoma communities that have been historically underserved.
Tina Castillo: In-School Bike Education Program Officer
Castillo will guide the creation of the in-school programming for grades three through eight. She was born and raised in Mount Vernon, Wash., and she proudly calls the Skagit Valley home.
Castillo grew up riding her BMX bike down city sidewalks and discovered bicycling for transportation while attending Gonzaga University in Spokane. While living in Bellingham, she fell in love with mountain biking and developed a passion for getting youth on bicycles through her volunteer work with the Vamos Outdoors Project.
“What an amazing opportunity this is to help expand bicycle education to kids across Washington,” Castillo says. “This work 100 percent aligns with my dream of creating a world where bike riders of all ages, races, genders, income levels, and abilities can experience the joys of bicycling.”
Jacquelyn “Jax” Billups: Youth Development Program Officer
Billups will implement the junior high and high school programming serving students in grades six through 12.
“I lept at the opportunity to accept this job after a decade-long career in teaching and subsequent roles serving the community through policy and anti-slavery work,” Billups says. Most recently, she managed a series of culturally attuned public health projects including one that identified and challenged inequitable data practices.
“Equitable data collection is crucial to creating a more just society and ending the further marginalization of historically underserved and marginalized communities,” Billups says.
Billups moved to Seattle from Minot, N.D., in the early 2000s to pursue an economics degree at Seattle Pacific University. “I am eager to bring my skill set to this role, and to support youth in advancing their agency through the freedom of mobility and healthful lifestyles that bicycling for transportation and recreation delivers.”
Washington State Shows National Leadership in Youth Bicycling
Leading with an equity lens, these programs will roll out first in “overburdened communities and high need school districts,” according to the Washington State Department of Transportation, which will administer the program in partnership with Cascade.
Combined, the in-school and after-school programs represent the largest and most comprehensive statewide youth bicycling initiative of their kind in the nation–and they illustrate why Washington is widely recognized as the most bicycle-friendly state in the country.
Learn more about the statewide youth bicycling initiative in Cascade News.
Read the state’s program startup report for the School-Based Bicycle Safety Education Program.