Bikes for the World

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Featured Volunteer: The Grovers

The Grovers
The idea here was that we would honor Luke Grover as our Featured Volunteer this month. But to quote his family, "this is a family affair", so it's only fair to honor the whole family.

Seen here is Luke in the back, Mom Michele, and Dad Keith. Missing is Andrew who is busy studying pre-med at Duke University. The family lives in New Jersey where they collect and store bikes for Bikes for the World.

Just last month, however, they got to add 'loading'  to their volunteer resume. With our growing effort really taking off in Long Island we are hoping to see more and more of this committed family.

Andrew Grover
This started with older brother Andrew who introduced Bikes for the World to the family.  Andrew 'found' BfW through John Hopkins University, Director Keith Oberg's Alma Mater. Andrew attended a recognition event in New York for John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, which he was then part of.

There, they showed a JHU produced video about alumnus Keith Oberg and the work he was doing with the non-profit he founded, Bikes for the World. Andrew was immediately interested in the program and contacted us to find out how he could get involved.

Keith O and Keith G started talking and worked out an arrangement where the Grovers would collect and hold bikes in New Jersey until BfW could arrange to pick them up.

Plong and Keith G
Back at our DC headquarters, BfW would connect donors near this Tinton Falls location.  Annually, the Grovers were collecting several dozen bikes, which were sometimes delivered by the Grovers to a collection location at Pennswood Village each fall outside Philadelphia.

One NJ donor, Plong, is originally from Bohol, Philippines and was moved to want to contribute to our newest project in 2012 that was delivering bikes to students in his homeland. We connected Plong with the Grovers and bikes he collected are now with students in Bohol.

Luke worked side by side with is brother Andrew learning how to prep bikes and finding a passion to make a difference around the world.

Luke Grover
When Andrew left for Duke last year, Luke contacted us and told us he was his younger brother and wanted to continue his family's effort. An injury sidelined him last winter but he re-initiated contact with us in the spring ready to keep the wheels turning.

Keith O. worked with the family to connect them with our growing effort just getting off the ground in New York. Area coordinator, Larry Silverman was putting together a network to collect, store, and ship bikes from our first established 'spin off' location. We hoped to divert bikes they collect north to this effort rather than driving them down I-95 to our DC location. This will also help build excitement as we grow this effort in New York.

James, Michele, Luke, Keith, Larry, Keith
This time, the Grovers left the bikes at home and loaded the family into the car to drive to the loading in New York last month. They met with Keith O. and Larry to lend a hand to complete the first ever container loading from this newest BfW location.

It was a long day and complex network of committed volunteers that made it all possible. BfW initiated many of the contacts but look for this group seen here above to continue moving this effort forward. You can read more about the New York loading on our website.

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