Posts Tagged ‘volunteer’

Thanks for the NTEN memories, Sarah!

As the NTEN Happy Hour Coordinator here in DC, I rely on the support of my NTEN contact, Sarah Janczak, to help me market our monthly happy hours, reimburse funds spent on the event, and supply me with awesome NTEN swag to pass out at said event.  Since taking over the NTEN Happy Hours in November of 2010, Sarah has been a constant source of support and encouragement in making my events a success. I’m so thankful that I had the chance to get to know Sarah and work with her on an (almost) weekly basis.

That being said, I’m so saddened (for me) but excited (for her) to see Sarah leave NTEN after four wonderful years. She’ll be going on to an awesome position PwC Advisory in Austin, Texas. You can read about her new adventure here. I’m sure it’ll be  an amazing experience for her, one that she can thank NTEN for helping her acquire.

Thanks again, Sarah, for all the fabulous NTEN memories. Best of luck in the future!


PICnet Volunteer Series: Pradeep is providing hope

This is the fifth post in our series about the PICnet Team’s volunteer efforts.

Who: Project Manager Pradeep Suthram How he serves: Volunteer for Friends of Prajwala and the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area

Pradeep has been working for PICnet for several years as a project manager, but still finds lots of time for his community, including his church, and even supporting charities his friends work for as well. But his main project hits close to home: for the last couple of years he has been volunteering for Friends of Prajwala, an organization that works to help victims of sexual trafficking and prostitution in India. As a a native of Hyderabad, India, Pradeep has found a way to help the people from his home country, and has even gotten support from multiple friends and family members.

Through Friends of Prajwala, Pradeep has been leading a fundraising effort called The Rebuild Campaign to help build a new shelter near Hyderabad for 600 women and girls who are survivors of sexual assault and trafficking. Growing up, Pradeep witnessed a lot of poverty and wanted to do something about it – he says that trafficked women and girls are some of the most poor people in India, and therefore denied their rights. He has since built a website for The Rebuild Campaign, and helped to raise $16,000 so far through his friends and networks.

Pradeep also assists the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA) with website development (using Joomla! of course) and he has helped to organize an international development career fair and hosted seminars on microfinance and technology related to international development. “UNA NCA has helped me to connect with a lot of like-minded ‘do-gooders,’ and learn about some really interesting issues,” says Pradeep.

Read more about UNA-NCA.

Learn more about Pradeep.


PICnet Volunteer Series: Julie is empowering young girls

This is the third post in our series about the PICnet Team’s volunteer efforts.

Who: Office Manager Julie Dennis How she serves: Volunteer for Community Bridges

commbridges_logoJulie has only been working as a PICnetter for a few months now, but she has been volunteering since early this year to middle-school girls develop lifeskills through Maryland-based Community Bridges. She began helping the organization in January as a mentor for a Montgomery County Public School student, Allison. As Allison’s mentor for the spring semester, Julie met with the girl each week to have dinner, play games or just have “girl talk” about what was going on in her life.

How did Julie get involved with Community Bridges? She had been looking for an organization that empowers women and girls, and after attending a development conference in November of 2008, she approached the Executive Deputy Director about volunteer opportunities and was put to “work” in January 2009. Julie says,”I really like helping these young ladies figure out how to deal with the hardships that they might encounter in 8th grade and especially on through high school. It is great to have a support system of people who care for you, and I think that these mentees know that Community Bridges is there to do just that.”

One of Julie’s favorite projects through Community Bridges so far was a Saturday yoga session they held during a unit on positive body image. “It was really cool because we were taught something that we could do to help our bodies (and minds), and it was also a great bonding experience for the mentors and their mentees.”

Julie is a mentor once again this semester for a young girl, and she’s looking forward to the special events and activities and spending time with fellow mentors and their mentees.

Read more about Julie.

Learn more about Community Bridges. *Read our introductory post on PICnetters giving back through service, and the first and second in the series.


PICnet Volunteer Series: Katie is starting Creative Conversations

This is the second post in our series about the PICnet Team’s volunteer efforts.

Jamie Ozimek contributed to this post.

Who: Project Manager Katie Guernsey How she serves: Various positions at Americans for the Arts

header_logoPICnetter Katie keeps busy day to day as a  Project Manager in our San Francisco office, helping clients build and manage their websites. But on the side, Katie is heavily involved in Americans for the Arts, the largest national advocacy and service organization for the arts in the US.

At AFTA, Katie serves as a member on the Emerging Leaders Council, and the chair of  the Technology and Communications Committee. As a Councilmember, she helps inform the direction that AFTA takes in supporting arts administrators who identify themselves to be “emerging” in their career on a national level. What exactly does that mean? According to Katie, AFTA’s definition of an “Emerging Leader” is someone under 35 years old, or in the field less than five years, but depending on the person, these guidelines can change a little. The Emerging Leaders Council devises programming, networking, and professional development opportunities for their peers under the guise of AFTA’s infrastructure. On a local level, Katie helps to coordinate professional networking opportunities such as the “Creative Conversations.”

Some of Katie’s specific duties include maintaining AFTA’s Google Group and overseeing the strategy of how to best serve their constituency through online technologies. This year, she facilitated one of the Emerging Leader Networking Sessions at the Annual Convention.

Read more »


PICnet Volunteer Series: Kevin debugs Joomla for you

Jamie Ozimek contributed to this blog post.

Today marks the first dedicated National Day of Service and Remembrance, on the 8th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. We though it fitting to start our PICnet Volunteer Series today. Every few weeks, we’ll be featuring another PICnet Team Member and his or her service efforts. To read more President Obama’s call for service and the introduction to this series, click here.

workgroups_bugsquadWho: Developer Kevin Devine How he serves: Joomla Bug Squad, maintains release series

When he’s not helping to develop websites for PICnet clients, Kevin takes even more hours out of his day (and night) to volunteer with the Joomla project, as a member of their Development Team. Currently, he is on their Joomla Bug Squad as the co-maintainer of the current release series. To break it down for you, Kevin tests for bugs reported by the community, writes patches, and reviews and commits patches added to the releases. He also serves as a member of the Joomla Security Team, for which he tests for security vulnerabilities in new releases of the open-source CMS and adds the appropriate patches.

Read more »


Serve is the word

Jamie Ozimek co-authored this blog post.

United We Serve is President Obama’s nationwide service initiative to promote Americans to volunteer in their communities. It is based upon the idea that if all Americans help out, even just a little bit, it will improve their communities and attend to the social needs that have arisen as a result of the economic downturn. Though it began as a pilot program over the summer, it is now expanding into an ongoing program in an effort to make volunteerism a way of life for Americans. provides all of the information about United We Serve, and is a great site to check out for those interested in finding a volunteer organization in their area or setting up their own service project. The site provides toolkits for a variety of service ideas in areas such as education, health, and energy and the environment. These toolkits provide information on every step of each project’s development, including how to establish a team and set goals. The site also allows you to register your service project and recruit volunteers. Better yet, it is a service built on an open source volunteer opportunity aggregator called All for Good.

So what does all of this mean for non-profit organizations? It means that now is an excellent time for organizations to promote their causes and demonstrate the value they provide to the American public.  An increase in volunteer efforts at organizations will give experiences to community members that the philanthropic community will support. And then – participants who share their testimonials may receive further visibility.

To celebrate the remaining weeks of the pilot program’s term, we thought it appropriate to highlight some of the great work that PICnetters do in their free time. The passion we have working with nonprofit clients to ensure their web presence is a successful tool is just an extension of the value we find in reaching out and helping our communities. That’s the intrinsic reward of working at PICnet.  We hope you enjoy getting to know our team a little better over the next couple of months as we feature a different employee and their volunteer efforts every few weeks. PICnet is proud to be a part of President Obama’s national call to service.