Strong community ties and giving back can fuel your spirit – because when you’re around your people, something just clicks. Community is different for everyone. It can inspire, empower, or be a springboard for innovation. Helping not only feels good, but it can also make a difference. Build connections with your local organizations and get involved today. You never know the power of your contribution.

Katherine is an Ada alum and fills her spiritual cup through volunteerism and community ties. She builds up new coders as a mentor to incoming Adies and creates lasting relationships from city to city.

Deepening Connections in Community Roots 

Share with us how you are currently involved with your community and what that means to you. 

Community involvement has always been important to me. Everywhere I go, I seek out opportunities to deepen community connections, give back through volunteerism, and show up for others. My family and I have moved three times in the past three and a half years, so my community involvement has been, at times, virtual, allowing me to maintain connections, and at times in person, in forging new connections. We moved into our current neighborhood about a week before the school year started this past August.

In applying to Ada, I was particularly drawn to Ada’s model of collaborative support. I’m continuing to deepen my ties with my new communities. I’ve volunteered at my son’s school, and I’m grateful to be active in supporting fellow Adies outside of the mandatory classroom requirements (facilitating review sessions, helping to think through blockers, providing a listening ear) and receiving their trust and support in turn.

Making time for cultivating community and giving back outside of the 9-5 work schedule can be exhausting! What inspired you to get involved? What keeps you coming back or pushing forward?

There’s a certain spiritual nourishment that comes from being part of an active community where you give, but also, when you begin to feel depleted, you can receive something in return. That something received can vary a lot. It might be the vicarious joy of a community member’s personal or professional victory. It might be some sort of direct support.

One recent reaffirming moment for me occurred during our first week in our new neighborhood. My family and I stopped in at Everyday Sundae and were immediately granted the gift of community. The owner welcomed us, saw our toddler, and took the time to invite us to a community event for children that was coming up soon. Whenever we stop in there now, we chat and deepen that connection. For me, it’s these sorts of connections that help to make a place feel like home. I’m determined to do my part in that work, pay the kindness given to me forward, and multiply that kindness in the world.

Why does community building bring you joy?

About two months after starting with Ada, I heard about Black Code Collective from a member of the Ada community and joined. It’s been such a blessing to have this community of Black tech workers, where we can talk about the issues that concern us, from the purely professional to the cultural. I went to a meet-up in December, and we took up a full third of the bar we were meeting in. Seeing so many Black people with connections to tech in one space was so powerful. Being an active part of that community absolutely brings me joy. 

What organizations would you like to share with folks to learn more about?

Black Code Collective – supporting Black joy and Black progress in tech

Everyday Sundae – amazing ice cream, feels like coming home

Any other thoughts you’d like to share about being a volunteer, finding your community, or anything else?

Community connection got more difficult during the pandemic in some ways, but it’s still possible. I message and call mentees when we can’t meet face-to-face; I’ve facilitated group sessions virtually. Connecting with people who don’t have a lot of resources gets even tougher, but if everyone is committed and sees a benefit, it can work. In terms of finding a community, if you’re already established in the community, and you see someone new, please reach out to welcome them and see what commonalities exist. Everyone has to start somewhere, and feeling welcomed is a huge leg up.

You can connect with Katherine on LinkedIn!