MEDA October 2015 Volunteer of the Month: David Rust-Smith

David Rust Smith BlogEach month, the Mission Economic Development Agency honors one of its dedicated volunteers—the people who are an integral part of MEDA’s ability to provide free services to low- and moderate-income Bay Area residents. Thanks to all of the selfless MEDA volunteers who choose Plaza Adelante as their second home. 

Name: David Rust-Smith
Program: Workforce Development (Mission Techies programs mentor)

Why did you decide to volunteer with MEDA?
I live in the Mission and wanted to contribute to my community in a way that makes the best use of my skills. MEDA’s Mission Techies mentoring program is awesome, and it got me very excited. I was fortunate to attend a school that offered plenty of career support and really appreciate how that can kickstart a young person’s career. Navigating your first job is tough and anyone trying to do it deserves help.

What projects have you worked on as a volunteer?
I work with my mentee every other week to help him start his career in technology. We do resume editing, mock interviews and hardware quizzes. My biggest accomplishment has been getting my mentee a call with Microsoft for an internship and another contact for an informational interview.

What do you like best about volunteering at MEDA?
They appreciate the importance of a holistic approach to employment and that youth don’t just need the skills for the job, but they also need the skills to get hired. They give me and my mentee the autonomy to do what’s best for his goals, and offer support in achieving them.

What have you learned from your volunteer experience?
So far, I have learned the value of having good computer science classes in high school. I took for granted my experience and have now seen how tough it can be for someone who wants to get into technology, but the system doesn’t get them their first course in technology until their second year of undergrad.

Tell us something we may not know about you. Any interesting facts you’d like to share about your life?
I love playing basketball and tinkering with electronics, so on the weekend you can often find me shooting hoops at the 19th and Valencia basketball courts, or hanging out at home building robots.

Looking to join a great cause, too? Find out how to volunteer at MEDA. We hope you can join us!

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