Featured Volunteer: Julien P.
Julien Payen led off our 2023 collection season hosting an event at his elementary school, St. Martin of Tours in Gaithersburg. Julien graduated from elementary school quite a few years ago and was working on his Eagle project with his boy scout troop #926. Julien chose Bikes for the World as his project beneficiary because of the volunteer work he'd done with us previously and the impact he knew the project would have around the world.
Julien was introduced to BfW when his family volunteered with us just before the pandemic. The 2020 disruption to life also disrupted their plans to be more involved in the volunteer program in the warehouse. But when it came time to plan his Eagle project, Julien remembered his work with us and wanted to make a difference on a larger scale.
He approached us earlier this year and hoped to collect bikes in February, not the most ideal time to host a collection. During the colder months, donors aren't necessarily thinking about bikes, especially old unused bikes. But Julien just took that on as more of a challenge. He set the usual scout goal of collecting 100 bikes in spite of the winter weather, which as it turns out wasn't terribly bad this year. He also set out to fundraise outside of the collection day to ensure that his event would cover our goal of $10 per bike.
Mission Accomplished! Julien fell just short of his goal, collecting 96 bikes instead of the 100 he had hoped for. BUT, since February IS a lean month in the world of bike donations, these came at a critical time for us in the warehouse and will help us meet our shipping goal this month. Accounting for 20% of the next container heading out to Costa Rica next week, the bikes Julien helped collect will surely make a huge difference. He also raised $1,575, well beyond his goal.
By working with BfW on his Eagle project, Julien also showed his leadership skills overseeing his volunteers of every age.To meet a goal of 100 bikes a scout typically has to collect bikes either in advance of the event or by sending out drivers the day of to collect bikes from individuals. Julien organized both which also involved securing space to store bikes and then transportation to move them.
Julien also brought in a police officer during the event to talk about bicycle safety and career planning for the other scouts. It was a very well rounded project that truly made an global impact. His event will also serve as a model for other Eagle Projects we have slated for later this year.
Through your donations, I was able to provide a means of transportation to those in need and make a difference in their lives or even save a life. The joy and happiness that your donations will bring to those who will receive these bikes are immeasurable. Your generosity has given me the opportunity to make a positive impact in our community and beyond.Julien Payen, future Eagle Scout