Volunteer Spotlight: Repair Cafe Fixer Mike!

Have you ever been to one of our Repair Cafes? With 5-6 per year, these free events connect people with broken stuff to people who like to fix stuff. If you haven’t been, you should really check one out. Even if you don’t have anything that needs fixing — it’s a fun and community driven event that is inspiring every time. The whole thing exists because of our AMAZING volunteer fixers.

Meet: Mike De La Mater!

Mike has been volunteering with Rethink Waste Project’s Repair Cafes since the beginning in 2013. We got a chance to ask him a few questions about what it’s like to be him and we want to share his answers with you since we think he’s so great. So here it is to share with you in his own words:

What sparked your interest in fixing?

I’ve always wanted to fix things. Ever since I was little I took things apart and put them back together. As an adult though, I realized that some people didn’t know how to fix things. Sometimes it’s aptitude, other times it’s just knowledge. That’s why I always show people what I’m doing when I fix their stuff.  If they can’t fix their own stuff, they might just throw it away, which seems like such a waste of resources. Some things are definitely worth fixing, and easy to fix, but some people don’t know how. That’s why I love Repair Cafe. Less useful stuff winds up in landfills.

Where can we find you when you’re not fixing?

Mostly at home or in the shop where I make things for myself or my friends. I enjoy hobby blacksmithing.

If you were to share a lecture on one topic you’re passionate about, what would you discuss?

Lecture? Golly. I’m more of a personal influencer. We live in community and it sure would be cool if we could stop judging each other and do decent things for each other. I want to get rid of this culture of contempt that I find around me.

Where would you most like to go in the world that you haven’t visited yet?

I’d really like to see Machu Picchu. The technology needed to make it is amazing.

What’s your favorite sustainable practice at home?

I work at reducing waste. I buy durable products and jump on products that have less packaging. Oh, don’t even try to hand me a disposable water bottle, either.

Mike’s closing remarks remind us to be better individuals. “I think you should do for others whatever doesn’t cost you much,” he said. “Basically, be decent to each other.” Well, that’s great advice.

Stay tuned for our next repair cafe by signing up for our monthly newsletter here! We’ll keep you in the loop.

If Mike inspires you to be a volunteer fixer, email for more details!

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