Volunteer spotlight: Ben Swanson

Ben on a Get Lit missionBen began his internship here last fall, working with the Community and Programs team to help organize registration for the Holiday Bike Drive. Over the course of his three-month internship, Ben fell in love with our programs and developed a great working relationship with the team, so he extended his internship through the spring. He’s now helping with Create a Commuter and Bike Club in a myriad of ways. Ben’s finely tuned interpersonal skills have helped him to successfully facilitate workshops with 15 program participants, four agency staff members, and two loud children, all while adjusting fenders and kickstands. What a champ!

Why do you volunteer here?
I really love cycling and all of the benefits that come from it. I love even more that the Community Cycling Center shares these same passions

What is your favorite Community Cycling Center program?
Create a Commuter because it is all about empowering individuals to use their bikes for so many reasons. The focus of the program is to help individuals find employment, but having such a utilitarian bike opens up many more opportunities to ride as well.

What do you do when you’re not volunteering here?
I attend Warner Pacific College full-time and I work full-time at a local home and garden supply store. I am also part of a church named Mosaic and I like to spend time with my wife, friends and family. In addition to commuting to all of these different activities by bike, I also enjoy going for long rides when I get a chance.

What attracted you to the Holiday Bike Drive internship?
I am a Social Work major in college and a big part of our program is internship experiences. I had contacted Brian (Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator) about interning and he let me know about the Holiday Bike Drive position. When I heard about it, I got super excited! Where else could I combine my love of cycling and social work?

Why did you decide to stay on as an intern after Holiday Bike Drive?
Leading up to and during the Holiday Bike Drive I got the chance to work with a lot of awesome people. Through them I learned about the Create a Commuter program. Once I got the opportunity to help lead one of the workshops I was hooked!

What’s your favorite Create a Commuter story?
During each workshop we go out on several rides. During one of these rides there was a woman who was having a difficult time. She was having a light asthma attack and did not feel like she would be able to make it. She fell to the back of the group and soon the group was nowhere to be seen. I stayed back with her and after a little break, I was able to encourage her to keep riding. It was awesome to watch her finally make it. What a great personal victory for her!

Photo by Ben Latterell

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Hours: 10am-6pm daily (fall/winter)Bike Shop Address: 1700 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211

Phone: 503.287.8786