What Drives You? Volunteering at Girls' Day with the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula
Being a support engineer, helping people is a major part of the job - and its something that I love doing. Delphix has given me another opportunity to help people, and that is through our Angel Sharks group. Angel Sharks is our philanthropy group which coordinates and organizes volunteering activities, donation tracking, company matching, etc.
As a member of Angel Sharks I get to help plan some of these great things, but mostly I get to volunteer in the community along with my co-workers. This year we have chosen STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, and Math) as our focus; last year we worked on hunger as our central theme. Most of our events are going to try and focus on doing things surrounding STEM and what we can do to encourage the kids in our communities to learn more and stay engaged with these fields.
With this theme in mind, this last weekend, April 11th, three of us participated in the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula's Girls' Day. This special event is dedicated to girls from East Palo Alto, Redwood City, and Menlo Park and gives them a chance to learn about what being a successful woman looks like and what tools they need to achieve that. The theme of this Girls' Day was What Drives You? and it was geared toward STEM.
As a day mentor, my two coworkers and I got to help the girls extract DNA from strawberries, build popsicle stick bridges, and even help them learn how Tesla makes their magnetic motors work, down to building a small version with a D battery and copper wire! The girls seemed very hesitant at first when building the battery (one almost didn't want to do it), but after playing with it for a little bit, and some encouragement, they ended up having a lot of fun and almost got a working motor! Both my mentees were very excited and proud of themselves!
One of the reasons that I love volunteering with kids is that moment of excitement that they get when everything comes together, and they can be proud of what they accomplished. Places like the Boys and Girls Club give these kids that opportunity to be proud of the accomplishments that they have worked hard to achieve. The reason that Girls' Day is so important is that these girls stop believing in themselves and their abilities when it comes to science, technology, engineering, and math.
As a woman in tech, I see this everyday, since it is such a male dominated field, and I hope that programs like these allow girls to believe in their skills and encourage them through interaction with successful women in these fields. One of the things that I really love most about working with these kinds of programs is the drive of the people running them. They are actively trying to affect positive change in these kids, and they are also passing on that mission to the kids as well.
The last exercise we did with our mentees was helping them flesh out what they love to do, what they are good at, and something that they want to change in the world around them, locally or globally, and then putting that all together into something immediately actionable.
Both my mentees seemed to struggle with certain parts of this, but came up with some great ways that they can change bullying and racial profiling in their own communities as teenagers! Overall it was an amazing event put on by the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula, and I would go back and do it all again!