May/June 1998, p.7

Volunteers of the Month

Mike Gaughan

Occupation: Video Producer. My company is called Family Stories. We produce PBS-style personal history documentaries. The main part of the video is a family member who shares his or her life-story. I enjoy it a lot - bringing families together and preserving history is really rewarding.
Neighborhood: Kensington, Brooklyn
T.A. Member Since: 1996
Volunteer Project: The T.A. Benefit Auction: for the past several months I've been soliciting contributions from manufacturers, retailers and others for the event. I've enjoyed speaking with people from all parts of the city, as well as the country, letting them know about T.A. and what we're doing. And it doesn't hurt to get more experience calling folks - being able to solicit over the phone is an important skill for any business person.
Hours: About five to six a week.
Philosophy: Cycling and pedestrian rights are important because the country needs a more balanced transportation policy - one that's not so reliant on cars. We've already fought one war over oil access! Balance is key...T.A. furthers that goal. As a grassroots organization it's actually people affecting change for themselves.
Cycle Habits: I cycle for recreation and to do errands around my neighborhood, though I'd like to extend my cycling. By volunteering I feel like I'm taking action to improve cycling rights and access. I think it's important to get involved personally.

Carl Biers

Occupation: Executive Director, Association for Union Democracy
Neighborhood: Park Slope
T.A. Member Since: 1994
Volunteer Project: Brooklyn Committee Chairperson
How you began volunteering: I got more involved in T.A. in 1995, after the Dept. of Parks proposal to extend car-free hours in Prospect Park was rejected. I really wanted a car free park, and I supported T.A.'s vision of an ecologically sound city. I believe we have to stand up for our rights as cyclists and pedestrians.
Hours: Varies, but about four per week minimum.
Philosophy: Cyclists and pedestrians are the majority in this city, and we can have a lot of political clout if we organize. In Prospect Park, for example, non-motorized users clearly outnumber the drivers. Collectively, we have more political force and more money, but we have to organize ourselves.
Highs as a Volunteer: The public hearing last week was great. Over 400 people came out to support a car free park. It was tremendous to see so many people get involved.
Advice: If you want to get involved, call T.A. Different talents can help build any campaign. Think about how to organize.
Upcoming projects: I'd like to keep the Brooklyn Committee running smoothly to improve conditions for bikes and peds in Brooklyn. I also see a need for a committee to organize for a bike and ped path on the Verrazano, as well as to have the city open the bike path on the Manhattan bridge.