Volunteer Spotlight: Melissa Sweet
By Randi Orth, Volunteer & Outreach Manager
Melissa made a big splash when they joined our Volunteer Program. With a knack for creating inclusive and inviting learning spaces, and an excitement for sharing knowledge, Melissa is a strong presence in our shop and programs.
In less than a year, Melissa excelled in our bike shop, and was one of the first to volunteer to assist the Saturday bike rides with our partners at We All Can Ride in New Columbia. Additionally, Melissa continued to be a presence in New Columbia in their role as a Mechanic Assistant at the Bicycle Repair Hub, offering hands-on, drop-in support to residents looking to expand their own bicycle knowledge.
Melissa is really awesome, everyone. But don’t take my word for it, check out this Volunteer Spotlight:
How long have you volunteered with us?
I’ve been volunteering with the Community Cycling Center since May 2012. I started right when I finished college, when I suddenly had loads of free time to learn new skills and connect with a new community.
Why do you volunteer here?
I love seeing familiar faces, learning from and teaching all sorts of different people, with tools in hand. It’s great to figure out just how to fix up a bike with collective knowledge and experience, where everybody’s presence is genuinely valued. It’s fun, rewarding, and important, for more reasons than I can really list.
What is your role as a volunteer here?
I am a Tuesday Night Drop-In Volunteer, where I work on kids’ bikes. I was a volunteer mechanic at the New Columbia Bike Hub in the fall and supported a few rides with the We All Can Ride group, also at New Columbia. I’ve also had a couple of glorious shifts with some paperwork (really, it was fun).
What is your favorite Community Cycling Center program?
Bike Hub at New Columbia. This is really what all bike-y non-profits should be doing; giving folks the tools they need (get it?) to teach within their own communities and to get and keep us all on our bikes. I loved seeing the same friendly faces and really admired the group’s flexibility, eagerness, and dedication. I’m really excited to see what they will all do with the space and the opportunity to teach bike mechanics to others in the community.
What is your dream bike?
It would change color with my mood, have easily replaceable parts, glittery streamers, self-built wheels, capacity to carry a pal, and fly. It would also educate other road users of current Oregon traffic laws and compliment other cyclists, especially on rainy days.
What do you like to do when you’re not here?
Reading up on local cycling history, “experimental” cooking, biking two toddlers around the Eastbank Esplanade as a bike nanny, working on my ukulele rockstar status, and hanging out with my grandma.
What would your bio-pic be called?
Plaid with Stripes. My polydactyl cat would play me, reluctantly.