Meet Tech Impact's Volunteer of the Year in 2015 as ITWorks Celebrates National Volunteer Week

8284544190_7e41d203a7_z.jpgAnne Marie Kaplan, right

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 Anne Marie Kaplan, the Manager of IT Support at Reed Tech, and an awesome volunteer. Anne Marie has been involved with ITWorks for several years by hosting and supervising interns, leading one of our Friday Sessions focused on soft skills development, providing assistance for our annual luncheon, and as Tech Impact's Volunteer of the Year in 2015.

ITWorks: How did you first learn about the ITWorks program? What compelled you to get involved as a volunteer? 

Anne Marie: When I first started at Reed, they were getting involved from the very beginning. Our leadership brought the idea to us, and I immediately wanted to get my team involved.

ITW: You volunteer in a variety of capacities – do you have a favorite way to get involved?

AM: I enjoy it all! It’s great to have the students here for the day to see how we work and have them meet so many of our team members – including management. Hearing their stories is so inspiring. I also love interviewing the students for our internship spot. And I really enjoy helping with the luncheon each year.

ITW: Describe one experience with a student(s) that stands out as being particularly impactful for the student(s), yourself, or both. 

AM: Our last intern was awesome. He came to work each and every day. He was so professional, and accomplished so much. It speaks to the caliber of students in this program.

ITW: What do you think the benefit is for volunteers who get involved with ITWorks? 

AM: Watching the students grow in their personal and professional lives – seeing where they come from, and how much drive they have to succeed and overcome their challenges. It’s so gratifying that they have this program to be a catalyst in changing their lives. We’ve been able to catch-up with graduates who have been out of the program for several years, and now they are excelling in their careers. That’s a life-changing impact and we get to be a part of that.

ITW: Do you have any insight for organizations or individuals who are considering a volunteer opportunity with ITWorks? 

AM: Get involved! Mentoring and Friday sessions are a great first step. Learn how the program works, and you’ll quickly see it’s an amazing opportunity for everyone who is involved.

ITW: Anything else we should know about your experience as a volunteer? 

AM: Each and every class session, we have more and more people at Reed get involved. In the fall, there was a team of software developers who happened upon the session and wanted to know how they could help. This time around, when the class comes for the professional development day, that team is taking part in the presentation and thus providing another level of exposure for the students to different areas of the IT world.

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