Our highlighted ReUse volunteer for February has been volunteering with us for over two years: Erika C.! Erika was thrilled to return to ReUse after our weeks of closure due to COVID-19. She enjoys her time at ReUse and sees it as a perfect learning opportunity to learn her second language, English. Erika’s first language is Spanish. She takes online classes to learn English, but volunteering at ReUse has been a more direct education for her: “When you read about it, you don’t get it, but when you see the problem, it is different; it is like a master class for me to learn […] For 2 or 3 hours, I see everything, I memorize it.”

Erika describes the work environment at ReUse as a place of strong teamwork: “Everyone rotates, and in a good mood, no bad faces […] in ReUse, I see that people just move and rotate all the time.”

When Erika decided to be a volunteer, she noticed that sometimes lower-priced products in electronics are not always as appealing in their condition and sometimes don’t work correctly. She knows these types of details are laborious to get through along with everything else our workers do to move materials at ReUse. As a volunteer, Erika is committed to cleaning and testing electronics, and making sure that they are in the best shape they can be to maximize their reusability, keep them out of the landfill even longer, and increase their appeal to customers as well.

When Erika’s not volunteering, she loves being with her family, spending time outside, jogging, and biking, especially on Ithaca’s Black Diamond Trail. One day she hopes to create and develop educational computer games for people to play online while learning at the same time. “Games are fun, but I want to try and bring the fun and education together […] This generation needs everything in the eyes, something visual […] I hope one day I can do something like that.”

Erika’s volunteer experience at ReUse has helped her to prepare for the job she wants someday: “For now, I’m learning English, my confidence is not always good […] Being a volunteer, I test myself [in English]. I hope one day when I get a new job, I can prove to myself, get confidence, and understand very well in those kinds of situations […] I know I will be prepared for that.”

Thank you so much Erika for being a rockstar volunteer!

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