Geeks want to help too.
August 31, 2005 9:00 AM   Subscribe

Geeks want to help too. Not to duplicate other posts or anything, but more generally speaking, both in disasters and not, what are ways techie geeks can make a difference? I've heard HAM operators are helping out where they can. But i havn't heard anything else. Ideas? More on the year-round type, i've looked at GeekCorps but being younger than their target market i don't have the time or means to litterally take off and volunteer for extended amounts of time. Have you used your skillz for anything good?
posted by joshgray to Technology (6 answers total)
BoingBoing is attempting to answer this very question.
posted by rafter at 9:25 AM on August 31, 2005

I spend some of my free time each week tutoring kids in basic computers skills, sometimes teaching an afternoon class, but mostly volunteering as tech support for the local school district.

Contact a local elementary school, and ask if you can help. Either they'll get you in touch with a school-board department clearinghouse set up for that, or you can discuss your ideas with the principal of the school directly.

Age doesn't seem to matter. When I was in High School, I taught a model rocketry course to elementary school kids every summer for 3 years in a row.
posted by thanotopsis at 10:56 AM on August 31, 2005

Wanna make a long term commitment? The Peace Corps does technical things, particularly if you have any teaching skills and they're okay with you being young. The pay stinks but it is pay and does keep you fed and housed.... for the 2 years and a few months a commitment lasts.

Closer to home, possibly, will connect you with work and volunteer opportunities based on the field you have skills in.

Beyond that, just find an organization locally that does what you care about. If you have skills of use to them you'll find yourself using them once they know you're not a one-off flake. Nobody wants to have a new sysadmin every week so you can stuff envelopes till they know you're committed.
posted by phearlez at 11:43 AM on August 31, 2005

Response by poster: BTW, i came across Looks promising
posted by joshgray at 12:13 PM on August 31, 2005

People will need shelter for the next five weeks at least. How many RVs can you think of that sit largely unused in your neighborhood? Katrina Campers: matching displaced victims with RV owners willing to lend a camper for shelter, weighted for distance. Also included would be a call for volunteers to pick up/deliver campers for owners who couldn't drop off, and a roll call of property owners willing to lend sites with parking lots like churches, schools, and Wal-Mart type stores. Coordination with an existing agency like the red Cross would help reduce redundant efforts and add some legitimacy to ease concerns of lenders. I understand the Red Cross is already talking to RV manufacturers and dealers, but this avenue will take some time , likely be expensive, and of limited availability to victims.
posted by roboto at 1:02 PM on August 31, 2005

Where do you live? A lot of areas have groups similar to Seattle's NPower or SF Bay Area's TechCommons, offering technical assistance to non-profit groups and may be looking for volunteers.

The TechSoup forums might be able to give you more regional ideas, too.
posted by cmonkey at 1:10 PM on August 31, 2005

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