The Day of Service, a long-time NTC tradition, gave NPTechies the chance to give something back to the New Orleans community. In spite of some weather related delays -- apparently, some pilots didn’t want to play hide-and-go-seek with the tornadoes -- 2008 saw record volunteer turnout for the DOS, and by all indications, the projects were successful.
Tech trainer extraordinaire Beth Kanter has organized the DOS for seven years now, and feels this one went smoothly. Volunteers traveled to the Community Center of St. Bernard to install a wireless network, others conducted strategy consults with local nonprofits; later in the day, Jay Dedman and Ryanne Hodson led a video blogging work shop. Additionally, a second team of volunteers, led by some of the great people from Cisco -- who also donated the hardware for the wireless installation -- went back to St. Bernard to train local residents one-on-one.
As is common with the Day of Service, the volunteers felt great about giving something back. Carol Rudisill, the Director of TechSoup Stock, consulted with Common Ground Relief about email fundraising strategies. She said, “The most exciting thing for me is to find out what nonprofits really need. Normally, getting face time is really hard because we do everything by email.” Michaela Hacker, of Girls with Macs, participated in the wireless project at St. Bernard's. She told Beth Kanter, "It was an honor to be able to provide some help to this community and I'm grateful for the opportunity to talk with residents and keep the hope and momentum of positive work flowing." That's the spirit that makes NPTechies a force for good!
And the organizations appreciated the effort, as well as the spirit. Dotty Martino, Executive Director of the Epilepsy Foundation of Louisiana, said, “We don’t have the money to hire someone... so it was wonderful to be able to throw out my questions and get information on how to do basic technology functions that I don’t understand very well.”
Of course, the Day of Service could not have been considered a success if the organizations involved didn't feel they got something real out of it. Leah Ann Plaisance, of the Children’s Bureau of New Orleans, felt good about her takeaways, saying, “I’m going to take my charts to the board to prove how many donations we’re missing now that I understand... Google Analytics ." And Nathan Rothstein, of NOLA YURP, had nothing but good things to say about the participants: “The volunteers did their research beforehand. It was great to get an outside perspective. I got a very detailed description of each part of my site that needs changing.”
Everyone at NTEN extends their thanks to this year’s participants. It’s great to see that the spirit behind the Day of Service is thriving in the NTEN community. We look forward to seeing what you come up with in San Francisco for NTC 2009.
You can find links to more great DOS resources, including photos and videos, over on Beth's Blog.
[The quotes for this post were gathered by Beth Kanter and Cheryl Hanback.]