Volunteer Spotlight: Lynne Brehmer & Polina Kropacheva

Lynne and PolinaThis month get to know N Street Village volunteer sewing team, Lynne Brehmer and Polina Kropacheva. Since March 2013, Lynne and Polina have been facilitating a 3 hour sewing class once a month in the Day Center. During their visits, they introduce new projects and encourage clients to develop their creativity while learning new skills. Their projects include, wallets, shoulder bags, and recently the clients learned how to sew sock monkeys. When Lynne and Polina are not volunteering, they enjoy hiking, rock climbing, and travelling to exotic places. Let’s get know Lynne and Polina…

Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in the DC area?

Lynne: I grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina and studied business at UNC Chapel Hill. I work as a product manager at AARP managing their mobile apps. I heard about N Street Village through one of my friends who volunteered here in the past. I really liked the programs they offered and decided to attend a volunteer orientation session. They mentioned they needed someone to take over the sewing class. I have been sewing since I was a kid and was really excited to find a way to put one of my skills to use while helping out at the same time.

Polina: I was born in Russia and moved to Chicago at the age of 10 with my family, so I consider myself a Chicago native first. I first moved to DC in 2001 to attend college at Georgetown. I moved away for a brief period after graduating in 2005 and found myself back in DC again in 2007 for law school at Catholic University.

What is your favorite D.C. landmark?

Lynne: My favorite DC landmark is the National Mall. One of my favorite things to do is to run down to the Mall in the morning before the city gets hectic and stand at the top of the hill at the Washington Memorial and watch the sun rise. The city is so beautiful at that time of day.

Polina:
I really love the Dumbarton Oaks Garden.

On a Saturday evening you will find me at…

Lynne: I love taking weekend trips, especially camping trips. My most recent camping trip was a rock climbing adventure in Seneca Rocks, WV with Polina.

Polina:
Oftentimes on my couch and every once in a while roasting marshmallows in a campfire at some faraway campsite.

Where is the last place you travelled to?

Lynne: I travelled to Switzerland a couple of weeks ago with my mom to celebrate her birthday. We went to Montreux, Zermatt, and Saint Luc. We had an amazing time visiting the Matterhorn and hiking through the Alps.

Polina: Almaty, Kazakhstan

What is the last movie you watched (and enjoyed)?

Lynne:
Boyhood. They filmed the movie over a 12 year period. It was amazing. Go watch it!

Polina: I just watched Bridesmaids for probably the 7th time. Most recent new release I watched was The Trip to Italy.

What is the last book you read…
Lynne: All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr

Polina: The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt

What do you enjoy most about volunteering at N Street Village?

Lynne: I love seeing how proud the ladies are of the creations they have made at the end of sewing class. Many people come into the class with no prior sewing experience and are not confident they will be able to use a sewing machine. Seeing their faces light up at the end and watching them show off what they’ve made makes me feel really great.

Polina: The positive energy. I love seeing how nice and supportive everyone is.

Share one of your favorite N Street Village memories?

Lynne: One of my favorite recent moments was learning that one of the N Street staff members and one of the members of the class had become so confident in their sewing skills that they started teaching sewing classes on their own.