Sometimes when I blog, I try to plug into any observance that is going on for the month. Last month on the Oracle blog I covered International Women's Day.
For the month of April, amongst many observances, I was pleased to learn that one of them, is National Volunteer Month/Week/Day. I wanted to reflect on a Volunteer experience I did through my employer, Oracle Corporation and specifically with the Oracle Education Foundation. Due to frequent travel, it took a few attempts for me to be able to synch. up, with the volunteer schedule, but came June 23, 2019, the stars lined up. The destination was Eastside College Preparatory School, a combined middle and high school in East Palo Alto, California that helps under-served families and their first-generation children.
Three of us Oracle employees teamed up with three Oracle Education Foundation staff, including team lead, Ashley Sullivan. There were over 20 students and each of us volunteers worked with a smaller group. I learnt about a simple technology platform called the Arduino Circuit playground with which students could build some very creative and sophisticated projects. It all started with trying to light up LEDs to coming up with real world use cases. The students got to interview Oracle and other Professionals, everything from Athletes and other professions, find out what challenges they were facing and coming up with practical solutions using the Arduino, software they wrote and creative hacks to make them wearable.
Ashely Simpson and a student
Each day would start in the playground and Ashley and her team would challenge the students with a mental-physical puzzle. The creativity of the problems and how smart the students were blew me away. I built a rapport with not only my group but with some of the other students. Going back to a circuit board brought back memories of my youth as a College student, studying Computer Engineering. My skills truthfully were a little rusty, but the experience of working with everyone was beyond words.
When the opportunities next arise, and we can safely do so, I look forward my next volunteering challenge, and hope you will too.