Why spend time volunteering? Most of the time, it means working behind-the-scenes for the greater good, to be part of something that is bigger than you that’s changing the world or at least your part of it. You don’t do it for the recognition, but because you are passionate about the work. So being recognized as the 2016 Volunteer of the Year was an honor and icing on the cake of my volunteer experience with CBIC.

I started volunteering soon after my son was born because I found myself pretty disillusioned with corporate culture’s attitude toward motherhood, but I still wanted to be productive and part of something. For me, it started in my church doing things I was already comfortable with like web design and tech support. It blossomed into more meaty roles like Executive Board Member for IMPACT and Mozilla Super Mentor & Club Captain.

I recently got to hear one of my tech heroes, Anita Jones, drop of some words of wisdom on young women attending the Capital Region Celebration of Women in Computing. I loved what she had to say about volunteering: its an opportunity where unforeseen doors may open and new skills can grow, but that "you always need to do the hard work, even when you are volunteering."
When I started volunteering with CBIC, I really dove into the deep end by taking on the Tech Tour chair responsibilities. I couldn’t have been successful without the awesome group of volunteers that have made up the Tech Tour Committee - Chris Engel, Jeff Faust, Jamie Foreman, DJ Hill, Michael Lake, Lianne Landers, Maria Lewis, Mike McPherson, Jason Ness, Michele Prysby, Andrew Renshaw, Jerry Reynolds, Miriam Rushfinn, Susan Stimart, and Jasmine Xiao!
While volunteering is about giving, it’s also about receiving. From my time with IMPACT, I gained my voice to speak out about the injustices I see in the world and my community. From my experiences with Mozilla, I’ve made global connections online and in person and been able to use my voice to advocate for web literacy. From my CBIC experience, I’ve gotten connected to the amazing tech community in Charlottesville who have in turn been critical to the founding and flourishing of Tech-Girls and Charlottesville Women in Tech.
Since I first began volunteering regularly, I have transitioned from working gigs to full-time employment, but my love of volunteering has not diminished. As Adrian Felts writes in his blog post, The Intangible ROI of Community Involvement, volunteering is important to the well-being of employers, employees and the community. 
Here are a few of the tech-related volunteer opportunities in our community and the people to contact if you'd like to learn more:
  • CBIC - Tracey Greene, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
  • Charlottesville Women in Tech - Kim Wilkens, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Computers4Kids - Kelly Flynn, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Girl Develop It - Ann Lewis, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
EDITOR'S NOTE: To learn more about volunteer opportunities at CBIC, go to our Get Involved page.  
See more from Kim at https://tmblr.co/ZO7aex27v8k8a.
About the Author
Kim Wilkens
Author: Kim WilkensWebsite: https://www.linkedin.com/in/techkim
Kim Wilkens is an activist, volunteer, writer, mentor, student and teacher who is passionate about technology, education and social justice. She is the chair of CBIC’s Tech Tour, the founder of Tech-Girls and an enthusiastic supporter of Cville Women in Tech. Kim brings her love for technology and education together as the computer science initiative coordinator at STAB.