Featured Volunteer: Maika Walker
Maika Walker is the Director of Social Justice at The Academy of the Holy Cross. We chose to feature Maika (in the Nats hat) in honor of all the school faculty we work with throughout the year to set up volunteer sessions for students. We often never even meet these individuals, but we work with them regularly and the impact they have on our program is HUGE.
Each group that visits ranges in size from 6-20 students. We hosted over two dozen different classes in our warehouse in 2023 and most of them worked in the shop. This is hands on mechanical work that many of the kids have never had experience with before. We moved to this more involved activity a few years ago and feel like it is a better experience for those student volunteers. Based on the response from administrators like Maika, it must be! With this participation we are able to save 2-3 times as many parts that we include with every shipment and helps our rural mechanics refurbish the bikes you donate. This also helps get those bikes back in use quicker, helping students, farmers, mothers, healthcare workers, etc. save time, energy, and money.
Maika found us as she was looking for Service Projects for the kids and thought, "that seems like a cool mission". Since we are so close to the school she jumped at the opportunity to partner with us. When she approached us a few years ago, we shared the enthusiasm. But it didn't end there. Unlike many of the school contacts we work with, we actually got to meet Maika in person!
A group at Holy Cross was hanging out and looking at the calendar...they had a professional day coming up and someone said, hey we should get together and do a service day instead of coming in to school that day. Maika immediately thought of Bikes for the World since they had been sending students over here and it looked like fun. And that's exactly what they got,
Fur. ...Fun, I mean FUN.
Outside of all the bikes they compacted for Barbados that day in February 2023, something else stands out to us about that unique service day. That was our first week with our first Foster Shop Dog, Ella. We had been bringing her to the warehouse to hang out with us during the day, but that particular day we took her home so there was no distraction among the group. Maika, a dog person, was so sad to learn that we had a dog in the warehouse but she missed meeting her. In the back of her mind, she was considering a second dog, but long ago she decided the next dog they adopted would have to be fostered first. Have we got the dog for you! We shared a few photos of our foster and she instantly fell in love. The group tried to talk her out of meeting Ella because they knew she would end up adopting her. And she already had her hands full with three little ones and another dog at home.
By the weekend we lost our shop dog and the Walkers welcomed our cuddly Cane Corso into their home. They renamed her Kona, honoring the fact that they found her through a bike connection, us! And lucky us, we now get regular updates on how Kona is doing and we love watching the joy she brings to the whole Walker family.