Volunteering: Roller Derby

Photo by Mark Bloom.

My first volunteer passion is to the sport of roller derby. For the last 5 years, I’ve been involved as a referee for over a dozen teams within several hundred miles of Denver; from Edwards to Castle Rock, Cheyenne, Ft. Collins, and beyond. From a recreational league in Brighton to the number 5 team in the world at Denver Roller Derby, from juniors’ games with ages 6 to 16, to seasoned veterans in their forties.

I’m so proud to be involved in a sport that embraces LGBT-inclusiveness, body positivity, and the pursuit of women’s sport. These athletes are an inspiration!

Volunteering: Sphero Club

Using Sphero programming to paint with light; a 30-second time lapse photograph of a BB-8 Sphero droid.

This year, I’ve been very fortunate to lead a group of up to 60 4th and 5th grade students at Black Rock Elementary School every Thursday morning at Sphero Club. As a career software developer, I’m fortunate to assist in passing the critical thinking skills of software-based problem solving to the next generation.

It’s often nerve-wracking to try to come up with a new idea every week!  Some of the activities we’ve done this year:

  • Painting with Light: The students were tasked to create a block program lasting 30 seconds to make their Spheros spin, dance, and change colors across a 3 ft by 3 ft area. I took 30-second long exposure photos with my DSLR (seen above) and had them printed for the class.
  • Bowling with Sphero: Students created a block program to roll forward 6 ft and then efficiently traverse a 3 by 3 ft grid containing a cup pyramid to knock down as many cups as possible. The students learned about creating an efficient repeating loop with patterns.
  • Mystery 8 Ball: The students were asked to recreate a random answer game where the Sphero spoke and changed color. The students learned about conditional logic and  responding to input.

Volunteering: Helping The Homeless

Our family hands out donations on the last Sunday of each month at Civic Center Park.

On the last Sunday of each month, our family meets up with a like-minded group of volunteers in Denver’s Civic Center Park to give clothing, hats & gloves, blankets, backpacks, books, toiletries, antibacterial cream, sunscreen, sanitary napkins and tampons, hot coffee, ramen soup, and a kind smile to between 120 and 200 homeless individuals.

Depending on the season, our family will bring about 80 t-shirts, 40 pairs of jeans, and 60 knit hats and gloves. I’ll either order them from surplus clothing stores, or we’ll head over to several Arc Thrift Stores on their 50% off Saturdays to comb the aisles.

I do my best to practice kindness in all areas of life; I’m proud to instill this core tenet in my children while helping those less fortunate.

Volunteering: Erie Singletrack Advocates

Learning the ropes of singletrack trail construction from trail designer Ryan Schutz (r) and Adam Haid (l) of Erie Singletrack Advocates.

In August and September 2013, I had the pleasure of working with Adam Haid and the rest of the Erie Singletrack Advocates to begin construction of the first several miles of the Sunset West Park trail network.

After attending an all-day training session in August led by master trail designers Scott Winget and Ryan Schutz and a few practice sessions in the field, we led teams of 5-8 volunteers on September 7, 2013 for the Xcel Energy Day of Service. We constructed 1.5 miles of trail before heading over to the park for a Miner’s Tavern burger and a celebratory Echo Brewing beer.

I grin every time I drive by the mountain bike parking lot off County Road 5 knowing how many riders have enjoyed the trails we carved that day.