11.17.2017

Traveling Volunteer Rides to Treehouse

By Jesse Colman, Treehouse Marketing Intern

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Jonathan Koch, 26, is on a six-month, five-state “motorcycle sabbatical” from Deloitte in Chicago, where he consults on software improvements for Wisconsin’s social services agencies. Via Harley Davidson, he’s stopping to volunteer at a different nonprofit in each state as part of his “Doin’ IT for the Kids” tour.

There are two major passions in Jonathan’s life: computer science and helping others.

“Especially kids who weren’t afforded the same opportunity as me,” Jonathan said.

Through the Deloitte sabbatical program, he sees an opportunity to work directly with the families he serves and a chance to help small nonprofits better use tech in their communities. A graduate of Notre Dame, he worked on several tech projects to help the local community while he was still in school.

Taking his Harley to the highway, Jonathan headed south from Chicago to Denver. For his first five-week gig, he worked with the Food Bank of the Rockies mopping floors, prepping meals and doing any task that was needed of him. Afterwards, he made his way west to The Road House homeless shelter in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he manned the front desk.

Then the time came for him to choose a nonprofit in the Pacific Northwest.

“What caught my eye about Treehouse is that they not only want to help youth in foster care, but they set a goal for themselves that they could really measure,” Jonathan said of Treehouse’s Graduation Success program. Over the past five years, the program has increased the combined graduation rate for on-time and fifth-year seniors from less than 40 percent to 89 percent.

At Treehouse, Jonathan worked with our IT department, where he developed a strategy for an organization-wide systems upgrade.

“A lot of places really just need bodies to help out. So it was great to come to Treehouse and learn that they could leverage my skillset,” he said.

After Treehouse, Jonathan jumped back on his Harley and headed to the San Francisco Food Bank, followed by a final stop at Habitat for Humanity in Tucson, Arizona.

Read his blog at jmancancan.com for more about his adventures.

To learn more about skills-based volunteering at Treehouse, contact Megan Meyer at volunteer@treehouseforkids.org or 206.267.5117.

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About the Author

Jesse Colman is an intern at Treehouse. He is passionate about building relationships, storytelling and community development.


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