Melissa Sweet has been interning with the BTA’s education programs team for the past few months. She spent the first part of her internship in the field, helping lead community rides with our Walk+Bike instructors and students. Now she’s putting time in the office helping us get ready for next fall. -LAF
How did you start volunteering/interning for the BTA?
After I graduated from college this past May, I was looking for something awesome and useful to do with my suddenly freed-up summer schedule. A friend showed me an internship posting for the BTA so I hopped on it. I met with LeeAnne and three days later I was on bikes with kids with the bike safety education program.
What’s your first walking or biking memory from childhood?
The first memory that comes to mind is how terrified I was when I realized my babysitter was no longer chasing me, holding onto the back of my seat. I also remember washing my first bike on our front lawn almost weekly.
What did you like the most about the BTA’s bike education program?
I really appreciate that the bike safety classes are taught at Portland public schools. A big reason I love biking so much is that it can be accessible to a ton of different types of people, and a lot of the kids at the public schools can really use the skills the BTA teaches to be safer and healthier. Plus, it’s a ton of fun to ride with the students who are equally excited about biking.
What’s been the best memory (so far) about volunteering with the bike safety program?
My favorite moment was when one learning-to-ride student hopped off her bike to help her classmate who was getting flustered at trying to figure out how to ride. She went up to the other student and said, ”Here, I’ll help you” while putting her arms all the way around her waist and running alongside the bike with her. Whether or not this is the best teaching strategy, it was a beautiful display of the awesomeness that comes out of biking and learning together.
If you could improve one thing about the bike safety program what would it be?
It would be great to have more volunteers for the on-bike lessons, especially to hang with and encourage the learners when the rest of the group rides on the streets.
What do you love the most about volunteering?
The best part of volunteering is meeting new people who want to make our communities more excellent in similar ways, then working together to make stuff happen.