Written by volunteer Clare Durepos
My background is “non-technical”: I double-majored in art history and photography and spent five years after college working in sales for an energy company. In 2015, I began looking for meaningful ways to get involved in my local community. I researched different nonprofit organizations based in Philly and discovered TechGirlz. The TechGirlz mission is “Empowering girls to be future technology leaders”, and I was compelled to volunteer with TechGirlz after observing that its founder Tracey Welson-Rossman and the staff I interacted with, Sarah Johnson and Karen Stellabotte, were leading fun educational programs for middle school girls called TechShopz and creating a clear and measurable social impact.
Initially, I was concerned that my non-technical background may prevent me from contributing to TechGirlz. However, I found other ways to serve, like helping to organize a fundraiser or representing TechGirlz at a local event as a form of community outreach. I eventually worked up to being a TA (teaching assistant) at some TechGirlz workshops, such as Animation & Graphics with Python.
TechGirlz inspired me to take Girl Develop It Philly classes about web concepts and various programming languages. I’m finding that TechGirlz is just one part of a flourishing and supportive tech ecosystem in Philadelphia. Some of the best friendships I’ve formed in Philadelphia have been with other TechGirlz volunteers. Any energy I’ve invested in TechGirlz is, in turn, enriching my own life.
You too can be a TechGirlz volunteer! Check out their volunteer opportunities and register today.