Thank you for your responses to the article in the local Knoxville paper. I have received many words of encouragement. The question I was asked the most by those wanting to help is “What do you need?” The first thing that pops into my head is funding. Even though that is true, that is not what we need the most. After a lot of thought, I think the first thing we need are volunteers.
IF the technology cooperative is to reach its goal of touching the lives of 500 young persons this year, we need to keep our doors open a lot more than we are able to do today. IF we plan to offer quality interaction to these deserving future technologists, we had better have someone around to answer quesitons.
We need a volunteer corps. We need someone to open the doors and get the place ready to receive our guests. We need someone to watch over the young people as they dismantle printers (safely). We need someone to lead workshops.
We cannot bring in more students until we have a volunteer corps in place.
In a perfect world, we would have 5 to 15 volunteers.
I hope you are considering volunteering to help us at Techco. If you are, let me answer a few questions in advance:
Q: I don’t know much about robotics, mobile apps, or game programming.
A: As a volunteer there are many other things you can do that does not require leading a workshop.
Q: I only have a couple of hours I can spare a month.
A: Perfect! We will be grateful for any time you have.
Q: I like what you are doing, but I don’t like to actually interact with children.
A: That’s okay, maybe you can help us with PR, Marketing, or Fundraising
Q: I have a workshop idea that is more art/crafty than technology related.
A: We are big believers in the Maker Movement, where the creative exercise of making things by hands fuels the same drive and curiosity that is needed for careers in technology. The learning is in the hands-on experience. We have considered workshops on Movie Making, Instrument making, rocketry and making art from recycled materials. Any workshop that motivates youth in an engaging, challenging environment is exactly the kind of workshops we need at the Technology Cooperative.
Secondly, we need corporate sponsors. Brother and sister companies that would allow our future technologists to see what the working world has to offer. I would like to have our front window so filled with corporate logos that it looks like a NASCAR vehicle. Before we received our 501-c-3 certification, we were hesitant to approach corporations. We are now beginning to have those conversations. We are seeking any company that shares our vision.