I attended my first Repair Cafe Pasadena event on August 27, 2016. It was Transition Pasadena's 37th Repair Cafe, and I was there to learn. In Whittier, where I co-direct the Whittier Free Store, we've planned our first Repair & Share Fair on September 17.
I was inspired by Transition Pasadena's ability to work closely with the City of Pasadena. The event even took place at the City's Jackie Robinson Center, and the City dedicated staff time to the event, including four Junior Ambassadors (three cheerful, one grumpy, all helpful). Pasadena has a local leadership training program that introduces aspiring community leaders to individual City staff, departments, and nonprofit partners. Wow! Every city should do this!
I was also inspired by the Repair Cafe's volunteer retention rate. Did you know that over 90% of Repair Cafe Pasadena volunteers return to volunteer again? People just like the work. This story from the event might explain why:
My young friend Rilee, who is 11, had a beloved but old Nintendo DS that needed fixing. The repair person, Michael, worked on it valiantly for over an hour, and managed to fix it — but then another part broke. He soldiered on. Two and a half hours had gone by when a cry went up in the repair room. Everyone cheered and clapped thunderously -- the devilishly difficult repair had been achieved! Rilee bragged about it the rest of the day. She had the toughest repair—and the best story —of the whole event.
It was wonderful to see old friends from the days of the Altadena Urban Farmers Market. A few of us who reconnected are even working on new partnerships that we hadn't anticipated. The Repair Cafe isn't just about repair — it's about creating and growing too. Thank you to everyone who works so hard to make this important community event a reality!
— Megan Hobza
Catalyst Network of Communities