Featured Volunteer: Glenwood Lions Club
The Glenwood Lions Club started working with Bikes for the World back in 2005. Back then it was just an average collection at the Bushy Park Elementary School. In just a couple years it was moved to the middle school and became a project of the school's LEO Club, which engages youth in community service projects. Today through the combined efforts of the Glenwood Lions Club, the LEOS, and Alpha Ridge Waste Transfer Station (we'll get to that) this amazing crew has delivered over 3500 bikes to our program!
More than its mission to help us collect bikes to donate to our partners around the world, the Lions focus on making a difference in the community through mentoring.This is also half our mission, so we love to see one of our local partners really embracing the full grasp of our program. The LEOs and Lions actually work throughout the school year on many projects in the community, the bike drive is just one. The idea of the LEOs program is not only making a positive difference in the community, but developing young leaders to continue this positive growth into the future.
This is why the Lions are so important. They serve as positive role models to the LEOs in the club. For our bike collections, the older members work side by side with the students teaching them our process for preparing bikes for donations. They also learn about communication, working in the community, and gain an understanding about the importance of the environment, recycling, and how their efforts can make a difference half a world away.
Spring forward to 2016. The Glenwood Lions Club partnered up with the local recycling facility in Howard County known as Alpha Ridge. What started out as a pilot program to collect bikes that was supposed to only stretch about three months is still going strong today. Actually strong is an understatement.
During that trial period, representatives from the Lions Club met every weekend at Alpha Ridge to help donors put their old bikes to good use by helping us rescue those bikes from the waste stream. The Lions collected, prepped, and transported the bikes to the school where they held their annual collection every spring.
The supply, however, quickly got out of hand and overflowed the space allotted for collecting bikes. And there really was no dropping off point in donations, spring, summer, fall, winter...the bikes just kept pouring in.
Working with the county, the Lions had a shed and signage installed to help designate the area as a regular drop off point for bikes. Now, throughout the week, visitors to the recycling center are able to leave bikes in the shed that are saved for Bikes for the World. The Lions still work closely with the project but it's truly not a once a week project anymore.
On a regular basis, Bikes for the World makes the drive up Georgia Avenue to bring a haul of bikes back to the warehouse and there are always Lions on hand to help us load. While this sounds like another great project to improve the lives of our beneficiaries around the globe...it doesn't stop there...or should we say start?
This regular supply of bikes coming into our warehouse helps us maintain a healthy workflow to offer a weekly volunteer night every Thursday in our warehouse. This is open to anyone of any age and skill level. Volunteers come and using specialized bike tools, prep these bikes collected through the Lions Club in Glenwood and other sources around the area.
We know that because of the effort at Alpha Ridge we will have enough work every single week to keep these volunteers busy who come for service hours for school, work, or simply because they want to give back to their communities and make a difference in the world. While our program greatly impacts our environment through recycling, we know the greatest difference here at home is creating life long volunteers who will continue to give back and make a difference in the world for years to come.
Thank You Glenwood Lions for making this a reality!