Volunteering 2.0

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Volunteering 2.0

Intel’s skilled mentors make a lasting impact
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Patrick Grogg, his son, and the Intel Arizona MAPS team after being recognized by the Gilbert Fire Department.

Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 8:25am


What if you had the power to create technology that could help your town’s first responders save lives? What if your skills could transform the way your state’s government operates? And what if you could help more kids in your community to get access to training that increases their chances of graduating from college?

Intel employees have proved that they can do all of this and more through Intel’s skills-based volunteering program, Mentoring and Planning Services (MAPS). The program matches the skills of Intel employees with the challenges of schools, non-profits and government agencies.

One Arizona MAPS project paired an Intel software engineer named Patrick Grogg with the Town of Gilbert Fire Department. The town’s paramedics were still using a paper-and-pencil system for recording patient data in the field while serving a population of close to 220,000. But Patrick had the power to create a mobile, electronic application using the skills he honed at Intel.

Patrick hopped on a fire truck and rode along with the first responders to get a better understanding of their environment and working conditions. He realized that the best solution would be the one that freed the paramedics up to do their jobs and focus on their patients in high-pressure situations.  

Patrick developed a tablet-based application that combines the best of both worlds for the team: buttons that automatically time-stamp treatments and a digital notepad so paramedics can jot down data in a hurry. Even better: the fire trucks are now mobile hotspots that allow immediate transmission of patient records to the receiving hospital. And a wireless printer produces a hard copy record that accompanies patients as they are transferred.

Back in the office, patient records can now be sorted and searched without the laborious task of thumbing through thousands of paper forms. The Town of Gilbert expressed its gratitude with a special ceremony recognizing Pat’s efforts.

Describing the new system as superior to any off-the-shelf product, Gilbert fire chief Collin DeWitt said, “We have probably the best in the country from the best in the country.”

Chief DeWitt presented Pat with a firefighter’s helmet bearing his name as a special honor. Not coincidentally, Pat is a resident of Gilbert, so he was able to empower his own community through MAPS volunteering.

Intel MAPS volunteers have also engaged with Arizona’s Government Transformation Office by providing Lean training to eliminate operational waste. They’ve helped a technical school rebrand itself to attract more students who can benefit from the school’s remarkably high college graduation rates. Another project trained school administrators in decision-making techniques and effective meeting tactics.

The stories and testimonials keep rolling in, and the consensus is that Intel MAPS mentors make an impact – and not just temporarily. They are, to reference the old saying, teaching these organizations how to fish, so they can sustain their improvement and reach for even higher standards on their own.

Many times when you’re involved in an organization, you can’t see the forest for the trees. You need someone from the outside, who’s objective, to come in and give you some fresh ideas,” said Dr. Sally Downey, executive director of East Valley Institute of Technology. “It’s almost like having a think tank — for free.”

MAPS mentors say the experience of skills-based volunteering is a win-win because they get to make a contribution, feel great about it, and develop more versatile skill-sets at the same time.

Intel MAPS is expanding from its roots in Arizona to other U.S. Intel site communities in California, New Mexico, Oregon and Texas, as well as sites in Costa Rica and Mexico.

Keywords: Social Impact & Volunteering | Diversity & Inclusion | Innovation & Technology | Intel | Mentors | Volunteering