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! While we were only able to feature six volunteers this week, we appreciate each and every person who has dedicated their time to making our program great.
Please meet Jamie Walls, a Senior Manager of Software Engineering at Capital One, and an incredible volunteer. Jamie has been involved with many ITWorks classes by serving as a mentor, hosting Lunch & Learns, interviewing and supervising interns, and being an awesome advocate for our students.
ITWorks: How did you first learn about the ITWorks program? What compelled you to get involved as a volunteer?
Jamie: We had a leader several years ago who, at the time, passed along an invite to a luncheon in Philadelphia, which happened to be Tech Impact’s annual luncheon. That was my first introduction to the program. I asked more about it afterwards, and it really seemed like something I could associate with. I knew how hard it was for me to get into the industry with a college degree, and I couldn’t imagine how much more challenging it would be without one. So I wanted to help anyway I could.
ITW: You volunteer in a variety of capacities – do you have a favorite way to get involved?
J: My favorite is being a mentor for interns because of the direct impact it has on their lives. I have the ability to get people into a position working for a company where they are being given a real chance. Assuming they make the best of it, it’s a true opportunity for them to find full-time employment. That lasting impact is what makes it so amazing. Followed closely behind is the lunches – we have a really good time!
ITW: Describe one experience with a student(s) that stands out as being particularly impactful for the student(s), yourself, or both.
J: There were two impactful things. One, was working with an ITWorks student named Jeff, an intern who came onto my team about a year ago. Seeing his passion about learning development, his eagerness to start in testing but learning coding as he went along, and his overall enthusiasm for the field was inspiring. Now he’s back in school pursuing a degree. His life changed, and I know that’s not a hundred percent due to me and my team, but I know we played a part in that. Two, was about three years ago when I was mentoring an ITWorks student. On one particular occasion he had mentioned that he was without a home. So understanding the hard and challenging situations that so many of these students face, that was a huge impact on me.
ITW: What do you think the benefit is for volunteers who get involved with ITWorks?
J: It’s an incredibly rewarding experience. We get to have fun while using our own professional skills and sharing knowledge to make a difference in the students’ lives.
Jamie with students at a Lunch & Learn where he taught using giant Legos!
ITW: Do you have any insight for organizations or individuals who are considering a volunteer opportunity with ITWorks?
J: I think it’s a great opportunity for anyone who is looking for a rewarding volunteer experience and can leverage their own skill set to the benefit of these students. We don’t always get to see the impacts of the work we do, but this a fun way to make a lasting, tangible difference.
Capital One is a diversified bank that offers a broad array of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients. The leadership and associated of Capital One have taken a vested interest in the ITWorks program by hosting Friday Sessions related to professional development and offered extended IT internships to students. Support from local businesses, such as Capital One, and their staff are integral to the success or our program, and ultimately our students.
Do you want to volunteer with ITWorks
by hosting an intern? Apply now: