Friday, March 9, 2012

Contributions and Community

As I am approaching finals week this quarter, I'm finding that I'm suffering from that demon that haunts me: procrastination. Why is it that when I want so desperately to just be done with things that I can't just push through and do them? Not sure, really. Maybe I'll put that off and think about it later...

I feel badly that I've neglected my blog of late. There has been so much going on. This quarter has been one full of group projects, including an amazing project taken on by a group in my Managing Technical Teams course. The main requirement for this project was that it had to contribute to the community utilizing technology. We decided to help the Heartland Weimaraner Rescue (HWR) back in Missouri by updating their website and giving it a fresh new look and some greater functionality. I focused my attention on doing the website makeover while other members of the team toiled to get their social network presence integrated into the site, created a publicity video to help bring in funding, created an e-commerce solution that would better meet their needs, and provided a back-end database that we will be implementing hopefully in the near future. It was hard work, don't get me wrong, but every time I see now that one of these beautiful dogs has been adopted it just gives me a little thrill! These are people with amazing heart and they are doing wonderful work. We were thrilled that we even got our press release into the Kansas City Star. I look forward to continuing to help this great group.

I also attended RootsTech 2012 back in February, and that was an extraordinary experience. To sit in the same room with all those genealogists and technologists was not only educational, but surprisingly inspiring. I found myself wanting to come home and dive into several genealogical projects I have, but of course life tends to get in the way of our best intentions. While there, I met Steve Morse who will be coming to speak to our Jewish Genealogical Society of WA State meeting next Monday evening about the upcoming release of the 1940 census. This is another really exciting event for the genealogical community! While my mother will not appear in the 1940 census as she wasn't born yet, my father will be. I'm excited to see that! This will be the first time the census has been released digitally and a number of organizations are coordinating their efforts to get it indexed. If you are interested, you can go to The 1940 Census and volunteer to help. What a great way to give back to the community!

And now I guess I'd probably better get back to some of the stuff I'm procrastinating, which includes finishing up end-of-the-quarter projects. Not my favorite thing, but then, this too shall pass. That's probably what I find fascinating about life in general as I get older. Problems that seem so insurmountable at first can eventually be overcome. Patience (something I am in short supply of, I'm afraid), endurance, and most of the time just putting one foot in front of the other eventually finds you leaving that seemingly unconquerable mountain behind. Mind you, I have to constantly remind myself of this. Knowledge is not necessarily wisdom and I end up having to give myself a good stern talking to once in a while. But as I've said before, another thing that makes our own problems seem small is reaching out to others and helping them. So given that, I'm very grateful for the opportunities I've been given over the past few months to contribute to HWR and I can't wait to get started on that census!