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Featured Volunteer: Ngalula Lonji

Ngalula found us through the Montgomery County Volunteer Center. We'd say she was lucky to find us there because we don't often have spots available to post on their website BUT let's be honest...we are definitely the ones that are lucky to have found her! Ngalula came out to start the year with us during our MLK Day event in January...a holiday Monday. Our MoCo volunteers are often one hit wonders...we don't always see them again...partially because most of our opportunities fall on a weekday night.

But Ngalula kept in touch with us via email because she loved what we did and she loved the work in the warehouse. Like others, she struggled to make our regular volunteer nights. Commuting to the warehouse after work during rush hour wouldn't leave her much time during our Thursday night volunteer night. She was interested in coming back but was looking for more weekend hours. 

Unfortunately we don't have many opportunities on the weekends. But we wanted to get her back in with us so when we had a scout troop scheduled one weekend we asked if Ngalula would be interested in helping us mentor the kids during that event. She said sure! And we reengaged her. 

Even though quite a bit of time passed we emailed Ngalula last month when we found ourselves in a bit of a jam. Our school groups dropped off, students seeking SSL hours were on vacation and we still had bikes pouring into the warehouse. The guys were busy collecting bikes in truck loads and we were running out of space, with more pick ups on the schedule for the following week. We needed to make some space fast! We needed help. We rallied a crew together last minute, seriously...we were texting folks late Friday night and even Saturday for an emergency Sunday session. 

Two weeks later we were back in the same boat. Again, Charity Connect sent us Sebastian and Evan who were there the first time we cried for help. And Ngalula came back as well. It was a hot one and we barely had floor space to work. Ngalula reconnected with Sara who joined us during the MLK Day event. They moved over in front of the big fan and sweated their way through the 90 degree afternoon in the warehouse. We scheduled a two hour session and the twosome kept spinning off pedals an hour after quitting time. Ngalula said, "bring us five more bikes and we'll be finished". Yvette didn't even ask what personal goal they were trying to meet...she heard five more bikes and said you got it!

With weekend volunteers like Ngalula, Sara, Sebastian, and Evan it's hard not to schedule more Sunday sessions!

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