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Featured Volunteer: Oh Look, It's Jonah!

One question we are asked a lot when it comes to volunteering, is how old do you need to be to volunteer at Bikes for the World. Yvette is quick to answer, Four...and she is only half kidding. We typically ask if kids are younger than 14 they come with a parent, but even that is negotiable. 

Which brings us to this month's Featured Volunteer: Jonah. Jonah's mom, Marci came to us in February to sign up with her son for a Thursday volunteer session. The next week he came back with a guy, Dad, also known as Adam. For the next, oh, let's say 15 weeks, Mom and Dad tag teamed, as parents with more than one kid tend to do, joining Jonah as he learned his way around the warehouse. 

Jonah quickly 'graduated' away from compacting bikes when he found out he could disassemble an entire bicycle over in the shop. This kid seems to thrive on learning. It took a few weeks, maybe a month or more, but eventually when you settled in on that orange bench and turned around to the bike stand, it sat a little lower than all the rest. This became Jonah's Bench (much to Yvette's delight, who often stands on her tippy toes to even see in the small parts bin on the stands).

One of the reasons we don't like to set an age for our volunteers is because we want to encourage everyone to volunteer...and to make that a lasting lifestyle. We also love to see families volunteering together. And maturity isn't set to a certain Age. 

Jonah found us when he was looking for a Mitzvah Project. His family does bike, but it was his Grandfather's love of cycling that gave Jonah the idea of working with us. He was quick to learn about the importance of compacting bikes as he asked questions while he worked. He took that with him when he moved over to the shop with Todd, who towers above him. He even shadows Glenn from time to time when he comes back from a pick up run and brings back treasures of tools or parts to sort. 

But all of that wasn't enough for Jonah, who continued to volunteer with us week after week. He decided he would host a collection at his school to help bring more bikes into the program for our beneficiaries around the world. He recruited a few volunteers and trained them and eventually the bikes started rolling in. He knew he was collecting bikes for our next shipment to Burkina Faso but he expected the container to be loaded and in port when he came the following Thursday. Because of the challenges of shipping to Burkina Faso and scheduling in general we actually had the container sitting here for Volunteer Night. We weren't expecting to load it, but when Jonah asks if he can load bikes, you say YES.

So, he doesn't have his license yet, but we are certain that is the only reason he's not driving the trucks to pick up bikes. Jonah showed a great interest in what we do at Bikes for the World, and then he did it. He proved that volunteering can happen at any age, with parental support, or not. He works just as hard alone or as part of a team. We didn't limit his experience and he showed us when you do that, his success knows no limit.

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