Ben Jones has become such a fixture at the Northwest YMCA in Grimes that when he’s not there in the mornings, members ask about him.
“I’ve had members tell me what a great job Ben does cleaning the machines and they miss his smile when he’s not here,” said Michelle Brainard, director of the Northwest YMCA.
Ben is a 21-year-old volunteer at the Northwest YMCA. For the past two summers he has volunteered his time each Tuesday morning when he comes in and cleans bikes and other exercise equipment for the Y.
“We were looking for something to give Ben some experience and get out in the community,” said his mother, Natalie Brand, who also serves as a fitness instructor at the Northwest Y.
This summer, Ben has expanded his volunteerism to include Jester Park where he cleans out the horse stables. He has also volunteered at other non-profits throughout the area, including local food pantries.
And he is so meticulous about his work that his mother says she asks him to clean around their house as well.
“I have him dust at home,” Natalie said. “He’s very thorough – much more so than I am when I clean.”
But Ben doesn’t come to the Northwest Y just to clean. After he is finished he uses his time wisely and hops on an elliptical or treadmill for his fitness time. And it’s not just the exercise that he enjoys.
“I think for him the highlight would be when he gets to put on his headphones and watch the Cartoon Network,” Natalie said.