In recognition of National Volunteer Week, ITWorks is spotlighting one of our amazing volunteers each day this week. Our volunteers are such an asset to our program and make a huge impact on our students. ITWorks would not be the same without them!
Please meet DeAndre Esteen, Employee Communications and Programs Manager at Barclaycard. DeAndre has been integral to the launch of our ITWorks Las Vegas program and coordinates the Barclaycard’s team that leads several Friday Sessions.
ITWorks: How did you first learn about the ITWorks program? What compelled you to get your team involved as a volunteer?
DeAndre: The relationship between Barclaycard and Tech Impact started two years ago with the Delaware program. Tech Impact and ITWorks provided several graduates for their apprenticeship program, and then they got involved in volunteer opportunities like Friday Sessions. So when the company heard that ITWorks was coming to the Las Vegas area, it was a very organic relationship to cultivate. We got everyone at the table to discuss, and I fell in love with the idea and thought, “This is exactly what we need.” The idea of employability – teaching tangible skills along with professionalism is so important out here. So we hopped on board and decided it would be great for our own Tech Team to take charge of this project. They are leading four Friday Sessions throughout the inaugural Las Vegas class. We’ve done one so far, and I don’t think it could have gone any better.
ITW: Barclay’s has taken a great interest in our Friday Sessions. Do you think there will be an opportunity for your team to volunteer in other ways as well?
D: The Friday Sessions were a perfect fit for this first session. We wanted to do more than four! But as our team continues to grow and our partnership with Tech Impact continues to grow, I hope that we can take advantage of the other volunteer opportunities. I think mentoring would be a great next step for us. We’ve all achieved some sort of success because of the mentors and coaches in our lives who saw something in us, sometimes when we didn’t see it ourselves. They didn’t open doors for us, but they provided opportunities to walk through doors. So being able to get our team involved in that would be a great addition to the whole partnership.
The Barclaycard team lead a Friday session.
ITW: Describe one experience you’ve had so far with ITWorks that has made a lasting impression.
D: The first Friday Session – we had everything set up and ready to go, but we had no idea how it was really going to go. I just kept saying in my head, “I hope this turns out well, and that the students want to come back.” Seeing the interaction, the amazing presentation by our team, the students asking questions and enjoying themselves, everyone excited about the next Session – everything about it was so awesome. It made me so grateful for Tech Impact, that they have such a great mission, and that Barclaycard was here to get involved. Plus, the support and engagement from the entire Tech Impact staff went above and beyond.
ITW: What do you think the benefit is for volunteers who get involved with ITWorks?
D: It’s all about giving back. It’s knowing that you just spent six hours with a group of young folks who may go out and change the world. Here in the Las Vegas area, the technology industry is getting a lot of attention. These students are the future of that industry. The volunteers get to be a part of that, by inspiring them and motivating them along the way, and then seeing their ultimate success. There’s no greater joy for someone who is in a teacher role than seeing those they taught succeed.
ITW: Do you have any insight for organizations or individuals who are considering a volunteer opportunity with our new ITWorks Las Vegas program?
D: Do it! It’s a great program and much needed for those young folks who want to do well and are interested in technology, but just need a little bit more guidance. These could be the future CEOs of a large tech company, these could be the people who develop the next big technological advancement – why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that? This program is feeding the overall trend in the area, and that’s all about technology.
ITW: Anything else we should know about your experience as a volunteer?
D: I help build and nurture the relationship – but it’s really our team that is delivering the curriculum who are the real star volunteers. I have a great pool of colleagues who want to give back, who are both professional and compassionate, and that makes my job so easy in managing the partnership. They have been waiting for an opportunity that caught their attention, and ITWorks is what we’ve been waiting for. So huge shout-out for their active citizenship and desire to be true public servants here in Southern Nevada! Barclaycard really embodies the idea of corporate citizenship – we have over a 97% rate of employees giving at least one hour of service each year. Our Henderson location had over 100% participation in 2015. So the culture of this company really supports and encourages the community involvement, too.
Barclaycard is a credit card provider and has been helping people achieve their financial goals for over 50 years. They have seen the value of ITWorks through their continuous involvement with the ITWorks Delaware program, and are growing their support by taking a large role in the launch of the ITWorks Las Vegas program.
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