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Do you volunteer? Why/why not?

cristinaruth profile image Cristina Ruth ・1 min read

If you volunteer, what kinds of things do you do? Is it tech related or not?

If you don’t, what is keeping you from volunteering? Schedule? Short-term vs long-term commitment? Other reasons?

Discussion

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panditapan profile image
Pandita

Yes! I volunteered as a mentor and a judge for Technovation this year, sadly I don't think I'll be able to participate as a mentor next year, maybe I'll participate as a judge? not sure! but it was fun :3

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cristinaruth profile image
Cristina Ruth Author

Was it a hackathon type of event? Im envious! 🙂

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panditapan profile image
Pandita

not sure since I've never been to one, but I was mentoring a group of girls who had to create a mobile app in thunkable or appinventor that solved a real problem in the world (this is done through months since they also have to do a document, pitches, videos, etc.). Then they would present it in competition both in real life and online :D

It's a pretty cool experience for the girls!

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cristinaruth profile image
Cristina Ruth Author

Sounds like a hackathon type of event for sure. Those are amazing to be around in -- the energy is just indescribable. The buzz in the air and the excitement as the group nears the finish line! 😊

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woddell profile image
Chris Weir

I volunteer as a mentor for CodeYourFuture Scotland. I'm not as active as I should be (work 9-5 and have 2 toddlers). But i'm hoping that'll change in the new year :)

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cristinaruth profile image
Cristina Ruth Author

Would love to know more about CodeYourFuture! It’s great you still get to volunteer on top of having a full time job and young kids. 😊

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woddell profile image
Chris Weir

Probably easier to link the website itself than try to explain it :). My role is to attend weekly classes and over remote help via slack during the week for students :)

codeyourfuture.io/

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richardeschloss profile image
Richard Schloss

Does contributing to open-source software count as volunteering? I'm doing all of that for free, but it's out of pure joy. It's for the love of interacting with the entire world. Open source has opened my mind like never before. For so long, I've been closed-source, but it is a huge thrill to have people from EVERY culture, EVERY country chime in with ideas. It's like the best "job" I've ever had in my life. No interviews or resumes. Anyone who wants to help is IN. When money comes in the form of opencollective or donations, it makes its fair rounds.

But, I guess, aside from software, I used to volunteer more at an animal shelter and a local farm. I have a soft spot for animals I guess. Sometimes I get really busy and can't volunteer as much, but it definitely feels good to volunteer.

Habitat for Humanity for just a day was also fun a long time ago. Considering all the people out there who want to get involved in rebuilding houses, why wouldn't more people take advantage of this? You get to learn how to build a house, and the pdf manual is free.

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harshanas profile image
Harshana Serasinghe

Hey Richard, I really love to know more about the projects that you contribute. I'd like to contribute as well.

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Richard Schloss

That'd be really cool! I know I have some ideas that just need to be formulated better. I'll keep you in mind!

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cristinaruth profile image
Cristina Ruth Author

That is awesome that you're able to contribute to open source and that you've volunteered around animals and building houses! 🙂

I myself have participated in a Habitat for Humanity and it was interesting how much work building a wall requires. 😁

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richardeschloss profile image
Richard Schloss

We painted doors and walls, and took a lot longer than I thought it would. But I now have a new appreciation for people who do that every day.

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Rogue Halo

I volunteer with Parkrun on Saturday Mornings, but I guess even things such as contributing on Github can be classed as Volunteering.

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MurrayVarey

Good work -- Parkrun is great! Particularly impressed with Junior Parkrun, which our five-year-old loves ... unless it's raining.

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cristinaruth profile image
Cristina Ruth Author

How about when it's winter? 🥶

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Rogue Halo

Yeah Running and rain doesn't mix XD

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cristinaruth profile image
Cristina Ruth Author

Yes, contributing to open source is definitely volunteering too!

Would love to know more about Parkrun and what kinds of things you do to help them out. 🙂

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rogue_halo profile image
Rogue Halo

Just in case you don't know, Parkrun is a weekly, free and timed 5k run every Saturday morning. You might have one where you live. Parkrun relies on volunteers because its a Non Profit Organisation, which keeps it free forever.

I tend to help set up the course because it means I can also run once the course is set up.

I'm going to make an article soon about certain activities to keep Devs from "Falling Into The Rabbit Hole" and running is definitely one of them(Or just sports in general)

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udiudi profile image
Udi

Yep!
For each holiday, a group of us driving elderly people without a family (either Holocaust survivors or people who are alone for the holidays) to organized holiday dinner, and back home after few hours (they have so much fun that they usually stay as long as possible! :) ).
Sometimes there's someone who lives alone in horrible conditions (usually an elderly without a family and without any government help), so we team up to clean his/her house, fixing whatever needs to be fixed, painting the walls and gather contributions such as proper bed/refrigerator and so on from great people (each time there are plenty of professional people who fix everything for free, buying and installing a new sink, new toilet..).

In the past, I used to help non-profits with technical management and issues, but now I prefer to spend my free time on something outside the tech world.

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cristinaruth profile image
Cristina Ruth Author

Wow! That's so nice of you to help those elderly folks. 😊 I wonder how I can find such orgs near me to help the same way. Do you have any tips?

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udiudi profile image
Udi

These days we have a WhatsApp group and we keep in touch with the elderly. Both endeavours started with one person that someone knew that needed help, and over Facebook gathered others to help out.

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cristinaruth profile image
Cristina Ruth Author

Oh very nice! ☺️ I unfortunately don't have time to organize another group lol I hope another group here already exists in my local community.

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harshanas profile image
Harshana Serasinghe

Yes, I volunteered in a tech meetup in my area. I contributed to it with Logistics support.

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cristinaruth profile image
Cristina Ruth Author

Nice local meetups are always nice to contribute to -- getting connected with local folks is always great! I noticed the past tense. What made you stop volunteering?

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cristinaruth profile image
Cristina Ruth Author

For me, I created a local tech meetup (Dev Together Madison) catered to help early-career devs and pair them up with mentors for in-person events. I've been organizing it since September 2018 last year and it's been great! 🙂

I also volunteer with TEALS, a Microsoft program designed to help bring computer science to high schools. I go to a local high school's computer science classes and help teach the kids the curriculum while providing perspective around how it applies in the real world and on the job.

I would love to start helping nonprofits around technology help but I'm struggling finding something low-commitment. I also would love to volunteer around helping elderly or around basic human needs (food). It's just hard to peruse through the loads of info online and also free time is something I don't have much of.

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baharajr profile image
Bennett(he/him)

Yes. I volunteer in different communities and boot camps as a mentor, facilitator, program assistant and I am looking forward to volunteering in many different tech talks this year.

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evieskinner18 profile image
Evie

Loved volunteering with refugee families and speaking Arabic with them in my hometown several years ago. These days I volunteer as a coach at Codebar in London 😍

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cristinaruth profile image
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Jakub T. Jankiewicz

Is contribution to Open Source and Wikipedia counts as volunteering? I do lot of both, but Wikipedia to my local one pl.wikipedia.org.

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cristinaruth profile image
Cristina Ruth Author

Definitely! Thank you for contributing to Wikipedia. I use that a lot and it won't be around/won't be as valuable without contributors like you. 🙂