Sure, it sounds cheesy, but giving back leaves you with a warm feeling that’s hard to come by—seriously! Being surrounded by kind people who’ve decided to spend their time taking action and bettering some part of their community, without any monetary motivations, is a nice change of pace from the discord that we often see when we turn on the news.
I had the chance to spend some time outside of the office with a group of very dedicated co-workers as we focused on a common goal: building 2 websites in 48 hours, one for Reaching Beyond Bars and another for Rainbow House,* at an awesome event called 48in48. The goal of the event as a whole, was to have skilled professionals come out and donate their time to build 48 non-profit websites in 48 hours. Although I was essentially giving up a good chunk of my weekend to do more work (and for free! *gasp*), it definitely didn’t feel that way.
On the first day, all volunteers arrived to check in and get started. The Atlanta event this year was held at the Post Office Co-Working space at Underground Atlanta. Initially I wasn’t sure of what to expect, but I immediately knew it was going to be a good weekend when I saw a photo booth and massage chair in the check-in room. There was also this air of positivity and excitement that was noticeably contagious. After registration, it was time to eat, have a little fun, and get to work.
Working out the flow of the website, what content should and shouldn’t be included, and literally deciding on every little detail, from the navigation bar, to what buttons go where, was without a doubt the heaviest part of this lift, in my opinion. Luckily, since we were assigned 2 websites and had a large enough team, we broke into smaller groups to tackle the job. By the end of the first night, we had our websites mapped out and our developer stayed late to get the framework set up.
The next day was when all of the final pieces were placed into the puzzle and the plan was brought to life. We also had the pleasure of meeting the founder of Reaching Beyond Bars, whose excitement over having us rebuild her site only made the work more enjoyable. Content was written, images were placed, code was…coded. Not to toot our own horn, but watching my co-workers make things happen and getting to play a part in that was pretty inspiring (toot toot!). I honestly ended up impressing myself with the way I kept up with (and at times even led) the rest of the team as well. It was a learning experience and a chance to get to know the people I spend so much of my day with in a different way.
Throughout the event, 48in48 did all they could to make the extra weekend of work not feel like work. If we needed to step back and take a break, there were fun activities for us, the location was great (A3C Festival was happening right outside), and there were giveaways at every food break (oh yeah, and along with food being provided, there were also plenty of drinks…which never hurts…as long as you keep in mind that you still have actual work to accomplish).
All-in-all, 48in48 was a fun, fulfilling experience— although most of my team had participated the year before, the spirit and energy from the event, and everyone involved, made me feel pretty at home during my first year.
*Rainbow House is not currently using the DEFINITION 6 built site.