Volunteer Spotlight: Laura Klement
By Randi Orth, Volunteer & Outreach Manager
Where Laura finds the time to do so much, no one will ever know! She seems to be everywhere at once: helping our Development Team at our administrative office, taking a mid-day break to go help some other awesome Portland non-profit, back at our shop fixin’ a few wheels as a Guest Mechanic, then off again to rafting, building projects, or a good old fashioned hike in the gorge. I can’t decide if I am inspired or exhausted by all that she does!
When taking a shift at our bike shop, you’ll know Laura is around because she’s usually in the middle of a long story, complete with a captivated audience, whilst performing intricate maintenance on tiny kids’ bikes. She’s perpetually positive and puts laughter first.
I appreciate Laura because she is an open book, equally happy to share her stories or learn from those around her. You should definitely get to know Laura by reading her spotlight!
Why do you volunteer at the Community Cycling Center?
I like meeting new people, catching up with regular volunteers and staff members, and sharing skills working on bikes, all while supporting the mission of the Community Cycling Center. I love that people keep showing up to volunteer without any sign-up commitment because it shows the success of creating a community where people feel good about the work they do.
How did you start?
I used to work down the street at the Community Energy Project. I had my first flat tire as I arrived to work one day so at lunch I wheeled my bike to the Cycling Center bike shop with the intention of figuring out how to repair it myself. Randi was there and helped encourage and guide me through the process. I attended a volunteer orientation shortly after in August 2011 and started wrenching on Tuesday Drop-In nights.
What sort of volunteer work do you do?
I wrench in the shop on Tuesday nights for Holiday Bike Drive, Thursday afternoons for the wheels Guest Mechanic program and then help with development work in the office, usually once a week.
What is your most memorable moment in your time volunteering with us?
This is a tough question but probably my first Holiday Bike Drive and taking kids through the process of picking out their bike from the hundreds we had repaired.
Do you have a favorite Community Cycling Center program? Why?
I have mostly helped out with Holiday Bike Drive so that is my favorite, though I hope to get more involved with other programs in the future. I love seeing kids’ faces light up as they get to choose their bikes!
What does “community” mean to you? How would you define it, or what does it look like?
Community to me means a group of people who come together who share a common interest and desire to help each other and to improve the places where they live, work, and play. With my volunteer work at Community Cycling Center and other non-profits, as well as with involvement in activities including aerial yoga and rafting, I am part of several communities who are interested and supportive in my pursuits as am I in theirs.
Describe your dream bike?
I purchased my silver Jamis Satellite Sport three years ago after spending a month looking for a bike. I kept coming back to it because it felt right for me and I still enjoy riding it around town and for longer rides. I have always wanted a bike with streamers, though, so that may have to happen at some point, probably on a cruiser-type bike.
What is something that someone may not assume about you?
I grew up on a corn, soybean, and pig farm in south central Minnesota. I have a degree in architecture and am designing and building my tiny house on wheels this summer, where I will live until I can save up enough money to buy land and build a strawbale house. I am blogging about the process at lauraklement.blogspot.com!