This blog was posted on behalf of Teran Martin. Teran is the Data Center Supply Manager for Intel Corporation and, when not forecasting server demand or aligning supply, helps host Portland based tech community events.
How do we use technology to improve our communities? This is the question I and 80 of my peers from across the Portland tech community asked ourselves as we gathered in the Zones cafeteria earlier this month for Intel’s inaugural Patch PDX event. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. Of the 85 registrants, less than a third were Intel employees and the rest composed a diverse group representing 24 different local tech companies.
As people gathered for the morning speaker series, the room was buzzing with energy. It was great to meet so many people like me who felt like they had a lot to share and that they had benefited from this fantastic community where we live, but were looking for guidance on how best to help.
Cara Snow kicked things off by discussing her own adventures within tech and how the Technology Association of Oregon empowers people, often hosting events with our local community. She challenged us to think about the skills we have and how they could be used to give back and strengthen our community. Next up was Jonathan Kumar, the founder of Samaritan. Jonathan challenged us to ask what is preventing us from doing more. He has an amazing story for how we can use technology, in this case a Bluetooth enabled beacon, to both create connections and enable people to more easily help people experiencing homelessness find housing and work.
Later that day, speakers from five of the nonprofits we would be volunteering at spoke about their organizations, the services they provide, and how we could help. It was inspiring and I was super excited to host a team at Transition Projects, the largest organization in Portland dedicated to helping people transition from homelessness into housing. Once on site, I channeled my inner Cara and Jonathan to ask Emily Coleman, Transition Projects’ volunteer coordinator, and the rest of my group what they thought we could do to help. As we prepped sack lunches for a women’s shelter and sorted through clothing donations, we talked about the opportunities around us and the things we’d learned.
At the end of the day, I couldn’t help but be both proud and inspired. Together we logged over 213 hours of community service at six different organizations in Portland dedicated to serving our local homeless and at-risk youth population. I’m incredibly proud that Intel was able to bring together such a motivated and engaged group from across the tech community.
I feel like we’re just scratching the surface for how technology can improve our communities, yet this was a great start and I’m looking forward to hosting our next Portland tech community event.