Featured Volunteer: Emma & Ariyeh
This month our featured volunteer piece highlights two esteemed teens on our team. Meet Emma Colavito seen above with her dad and Ariyeh Schmelzer (not pictured)- two of our top fundraisers of 2022. Between them they raised nearly $3,000 for Bikes for the World while working on personal projects involving bikes and us!
Emma approached us around Thanksgiving while working on her Middle Years Project at Richard Montgomery High School. She had a crazy idea to expand on her love of riding and attempt a century bike ride and wanted to use the goal as a fundraising tool to help deliver bikes overseas. A Century ride is often a goal for cyclists either for the year or possibly ever...it's 100 miles in one day. It's something you train hard for and sacrifice a day sitting in your saddle. In this area, or Maryland to be more exact, the Seagull Century is very popular over on the Eastern Shore. It's flat, it's well supported, there's music and ice cream. Oh, and pie, don't forget that last rest stop that has pie!
Well, Emma's ride was slightly different. First, the time of year. Her goal was to complete the ride in December. She also wanted to ride some of the course off road, or at least on the towpath. And there weren't 'rest stops' at least not fully supported ones. What this added up to was, a slower surface to ride on, much colder temperatures, and decreased daylight. See, CRAZY! BUT, she stuck with it and got it done. Fortunately she didn't choose the weekend that the polar vortex hit, but it was cold and windy the Saturday she and her dad set out to complete 100 miles. She spent nearly nine hours on the bike and it was indeed dark by the time they finished. As the sun started to set, the cold got a little more bitter. They stopped at one point at Roots Market to grab some hot chocolate and warm up a bit. In the end she loved it. She might be in the market for a new road bike and possibly a warmer pair of shoes, but she feels good about the awareness she brought to Bikes for the World and our cause. Through her fundraising efforts she also helped us improve the lives of many people in our program.
Ariyeh, played it a little warmer while working on his mitzvah project with Bikes for the World. In fact, Ariyeh has become a bit of a fixture in the Bikes for the World warehouse working well beyond finishing his project. Ariyeh choose to volunteer at Bikes for the World and learned a lot about what we do, who we help, and of course bikes! He also did some fundraising and collected bikes. He and his dad come in regularly during our Thursday night volunteer events and usually work on compacting bikes for the upcoming shipments. Through all of his efforts, Ariyeh continues to help us change lives, one bike at a time!