Bikes for the World

Monday, July 7, 2014

Featured Volunteer: Karen Hendrixson

It was just last year when Karen sent an email offering to help unload bikes from DICK'S Sporting Goods in our old Arlington warehouse. Karen was no stranger to BfW, she is a very active member of our board so of course we wanted her help in the warehouse.Now we can't keep her away.

Bikes for the World is always proud to boast about our active board members. They are all very passionate about the work we do and are always looking for ways to improve on that.

In addition to the behind the scenes strategic planning, almost every single member has an article of clothing, or two or three, stained with the unmistakable BfW trademark....GREASE. Dr. Karen Hendrixson is no exception, in fact she likely has some on her knee brace.

This year, Karen is a go-to pro. Last year she would offer to come out to collections, loadings...whatever we needed, but she always cautioned, I'm not sure how much help I will be...

Karen could often be found riding her bike, perhaps on the canal, or with one of her kids, but she didn't usually take it apart. It wasn't long before she knew the ropes at BfW and was spinning pedals off with the rest of us. Now she has her own trademark maneuvers. If you have a saddle that won't go down...take it to Karen, she will show you an unorthodox trick!

Karen joined our board in 2012, but she's been involved a lot longer than that. Her son did a collection with us quite a while ago. But it's her extensive knowledge of Africa that is a valuable asset to our team. She has lived in Ghana and Liberia and is currently helping to explore options of expanding BfW to Liberia. She currently serves as the board secretary.

The bonus to having Karen around the warehouse isn't just the fact that she brings us cookies and brownies...she truly understands how Bikes for the World works. She isn't just wrestling rusty bike parts, she is mentoring volunteers and checking in with staff. With Karen working side by side with staff and volunteers, she sees where we excel and where we could use improvement. This is something you can't fully appreciate sitting in a board meeting.

In fact, all of our board members have either done their own collections, mentored others at collections, picked up bikes, or even packed bikes at a loading. They have all processed a bike and had grease under their fingernails on one or more occasion.

Keeping our board members active in our program is keeping Bikes for the World strong. They understand our limitations and see our potential first hand. They are interacting with our donors, our volunteers, and even our beneficiaries.

The next time you are out at a loading make sure you say hi to Karen...and thank her for the baked treats!

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