48in48 Volunteer Spotlight: Mike Richards
Who is Mike Richards?
From Bloomington, Illinois, Mike Richards is a jack of all trades. Working within hospitality and social media management, Mike is someone who is determined to reach a larger community. His most recent position is with Epiphany Hospitality Group, a large scale farm to table operation. His involvement with 48in48 started about five years ago when he decided to take his involvement to the next level.
How did Mike become interested in 48in48?
In 2017, Mike was enrolled at a university in Illinois. He was enrolled in courses that often involved web design and other digital processes. When his friend asked him to participate in his first 48in48 event, Mike jumped at the idea to travel to Boston. Since that first introduction, Mike has played a large role in each 48in48 weekend event for the past three years. He mentioned, “Since 2017, I have taken the opportunity to dive in. So far I am three for three!”
Why did Mike decide to do good for others and volunteer?
Not a simple observer but a doer, Mike enjoys offering his skills to others. Mike described his initial decision to volunteer, “I think it had to do with having to do good for others and helping. I saw it as a really excellent opportunity to really help someone by utilizing the skills that are central to my career path. It is really amazing and cool to offer my skills that are a part of my life.” With a strong ability to create new websites and community messages, Mike has become a crucial team player in 48in48 events.
What is Mike’s role currently?
Specializing in WordPress development, Mike has had the ability to quickly curate these Nonprofits’ websites. He has been able to leverage his professional expertise to help other volunteers achieve efficiency and newer skillsets to contribute to the 48in48 events. Mike mentioned, “I think half of the people had some experience with WordPress and then the other half didn’t. I was able to help those that didn’t have that experience.”
A surprise encounter during a 48in48 weekend event
In 2018, Mike was preparing to build a site for a local art gallery in Bloomington, Illinois. As he was gearing up for the event, he quickly recognized his high school literature teacher. Mike shared, “We immediately knew each other, and that was the first time we have seen each other in decades. It was really neat that I was helping someone from my years growing up.” 48in48 events are known to bring people together and establish old and new connections. Volunteers like Mike often reconnect with old friends!
What would Mike tell someone who is on the fence about participating and volunteering with 48in48?
Mike will be participating in events to come, and he encourages you to build relationships, develop your skills, and jump in. “It’s really fun! It’s validating and a team effort that feels really affirming. It is something that you feel really good the entire time that you are doing it. It is a selfless thing and everyone is recognizing that. It takes some dedication, but overall everyone feels really good about doing it. It isn’t a chore. It is a great practice opportunity and professional exercise in forming teams quickly, delegating, and working together to accomplish something.” Take the time to learn new tools, programs, and systems. Mike suggests using 48in48 events to ask yourself what you want to do and what skills you want to use.
How does Mike feel about the upcoming virtual events?
With a positive mindset, Mike feels as though the upcoming virtual events will be expedited the best way possible. While they may be different than before, Mike is confident that they are still a great opportunity. Mike firmly believes that the events must go on during this time of COVID-19. “The virtual events are incredibly valuable.”
As Mike suggests, please dive in as a 48in48 volunteer! Learn more, expand your skills, and create connections here.