Volunteer Spotlight: Puanani and Pau

By Randi Orth, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator

Puanani and Pau are a mother-son power duo that started volunteering with us in June of 2011. Since their start in early summer, they’ve really thrown themselves into refurbishing bicycles for our earn-a-bike programs, and have learned so much in such a short time.

They represent both sides of the volunteer equation, Pau with his perseverance to learn and Puanani with her commitment to having a great time in whatever she is doing. In short time, Pau has mastered the art of tiny bike refurbishment as a Certified Holiday Bike Drive Mechanic and Puanani effortlessly weaves her positive attitude into any task presented to her.

We thoroughly enjoy having these two around and are so glad that they choose to spend their Tuesday Nights wrenching at our shop.

Why do you volunteer here?

Pau: I was interested in learning more about bikes so that I could work on my own. The Community Cycling Center provided the perfect mix of learning and giving back.
Puanani: I volunteer to challenge myself as I am not known for being mechanically inclined. In addition, I love learning more about my son and watching him grow in confidence and skills. It has been a blessing to spend time with him and to reverse roles a bit and become his student.

What sort of volunteer work do you do?

Our standard volunteer gig is the Tuesday Night Drop-in, but we have also volunteered at the Holiday Bike Drive. Pau as a mechanic and Puanani as a Bike Rodeo helper.

What is your favorite Community Cycling Center program?

We enjoy the Holiday Bike Drive because of the commitment and camaraderie of the Tuesday night crew. From the moment we started, we felt welcomed and valued. It is delightful to work with others toward a shared goal.

What is your dream bike?

Pau: I have lots of ideas about bikes. I was inspired by the Oregon Manifest Bike Constructors’ Challenge. If I could enter a bike, it would be a reverse trike with a front platform for a wheelchair so that everyone could experience the joy of riding a bike even if they were unable to operate one alone.
Puanani: How can I follow that?!

What do you do when you’re not here?

Pau: I am an 8th grader at Beaumont. I enjoy sports both watching and playing. This year I joined crew. I also play basketball and run. My dog, Jorge, makes me laugh. Tigers are my favorite animal.
Puanani: I love to read and spend time with my family. My favorite place to be is the beach, but if I can’t be there, I will settle for any river, stream or creek.

What would your Bio-pic be called and who would play you?

Pau: Pau-R House. I would play me.
Puanani: How Did I Get Here? Sandra Bullock


Thank you to Pau and Puanani for your continued dedication and support. Our volunteers mean the world to us!

Have you worked with an outstanding volunteer that deserves a spotlight? Let us know!

Photos by Becca Quint and Puanani Lalakea

Connect with Us

Hours: Open Wednesday-Friday 11AM-7PM & Saturday/Sunday 12PM-5PM. Closed MondayBike Shop Address: 1700 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211

Phone: 503.287.8786