Featured Volunteer: Alex Can Tsarouhas
Alex Can Tsarouhas became a bit of FIX-ture around the warehouse during 2022. He started coming to Bikes for the World to earn service hours (SSL) for school and racked up quite a few of the with us over the past year. He clearly knew a thing or two about bikes when he came, but now he knows even more!
Alex Can participated in our Thursday night volunteer sessions compacting bikes that we were shipping overseas. He came nearly every Thursday during the 2021-2022 school year until he went overseas for the summer. He was interested in learning more about bikes and working on them but he also showed a great deal of interest in our partners around the world and how our bikes were helping to change lives.
Alex Can was enthusiastic about working with us and even recruited some friends to come help on Thursdays. No matter what we needed Alex Can was willing and able to help. When we needed him to strip the spokes off wheels (a tediously slow job) he never complained...although he may have once or twice tried to sneak into the shop.
Seeing that interest, we also worked him into the more skilled tasks in the shop when possible. He definitely preferred being over there to hone his mechanic skills even though we often needed him to prepare the bikes for our upcoming shipments rather than work at parts recovery. His commitment to our cause and his reliable nature made him a great fit in our mission.
Many of our volunteers who come to earn SSL hours for school count them by the minute and rarely return after they have met their requirements. This is why Alex Can became so important this fall, as he could be counted on most Thursdays when our warehouse became the fullest...and over the next two hours would work through the bikes until we had room for more coming in the next day. We not only rely on this Thursday workforce to help us meet the needs of our partner programs around the world, but that work in the warehouse makes it possible for us to continue picking up bikes all week...leaving room to store donations before the next shipment.
Many weeks Alex Can would sift through our scrap metal pile and leave with random discarded parts. He must have been at home tinkering in the garage in between visiting Bikes for the World. And often he would return with more parts to donate. As he begins to think about his next steps in his education, we are already thinking about how we might replace him when he's gone.