Bikes for the World

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Featured Volunteer: Mechanics For a Day...Or Two

Burgundy students
This month Bikes for the World recognizes Burgundy Farm Country Day School in Alexandria Virginia.

Bikes for the World has worked with over 70 schools since 2005. Every year we work with a couple dozen schools who host bike collections with us. About a dozen more come out to our warehouse to help us load bikes that will be shipped overseas.

Burgundy is one of the very few schools who has worked with us on collections AND loadings, giving their students the whole picture of what we do at Bikes for the World.

Keith loading up bikes
Over the years Burgundy has consistently done a bike collection with us every fall. In 2013 they made a goal to collect 50 bikes during their collection. They usually collect around 35 annually.

They stunned Director Keith Oberg, who showed up in his van (that holds about 35 bikes) when the school exceeded their goal and collected almost double their normal amount. Good thing Keith brought the trailer! They managed to load all 60 bikes collected that day by throwing some on top of the van.

Burgundy at 2013 collection
"This is an out-of-the-box recycling initiative that also helps foster among our students an appreciation for cultural and social values, sharing an interesting perspective about diverse needs and cultures," said Doug Fishman, Sustainability Coordinator at Burgundy and Bikes for the World collection manager.

"So many of us who volunteer at the collection take for granted our own access to transportation, or even the fact that we're able to collect so many bicycles. We're giving a second life to old bikes, simultaneously improving lives for people in need."

Burgundy at 2014 loading
Not too many students join us for both a collection and loading. It's a big commitment from a school to provide both of these community service projects for their students, especially when one of them is at our warehouse.

There's actually a pretty good chance some of the bikes they collected last November ended up
in the container we loaded with them in January. We can't always promise where a bike is going to end up except when we are carrying it onto the truck! So these guys know those bikes are heading to Panama.

"Bikes for the World looks forward to working with Burgundy every year. The kids are really into it; they like the mechanics of it as well as what's behind it. The students found these bikes for us and now they see where they are going. That's pretty cool," said Yvette Hess, Bikes for the World Outreach Coordinator.

"Participating in this program allows children to connect personally to a cause. We hope they see volunteering is fun. But we love showing them the difference they are making for kids just like them miles (and oceans) away."

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