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Seeing the Forest for the Trees

3 Apr

Here’s the final installment from Chris Chavez, one of Catchafire’s newest team members. (See his first two posts below) These were his reflections at the end of a week of intensive training. That was three weeks ago, and incredibly, he has already welcomed four organizations to the Catchafire Team. Chris isn’t wet behind the ears, he’s on fire! Here are wise words from a (once-trainee) Catchafire Service Officer:

The Trees

My brain is heavier than it was in the morning! A lot goes into making Catchafire’s service as efficient and as helpful as it is. There are a lot of ingredients that ensure Catchafire members are satisfied with their experience: multiple stages of contact, clear communication between Catchafire teammates, consulting of organizations before they join our community and after, following the progress of projects, and keeping a healthy buzz around what we do – innovating pairing of hearts and minds with causes that need to build their capacity.

Open my Eyes

This morning I prepared myself to sustain a few dings and dents from some good ol’ fashion experiential learning… Well, the gods must have been listening because Thomas (aka Kathy) tripped me up a few times during my practice call. At the end of the day, I improved in some areas while regressing in others. Isn’t that always the case? I have a clearer sense of what I need to focus on in preparation for my first community calls next Wednesday.

The Forest

A final take-home from today’s training. Don’t take the power of algorithmic matching for granted. This a light bulb moment for me: we use algorithms every day to find information (on Google); to find relationships (on Facebook); to find special someones (on; to find places to eat, drink, and be merry (on yelp).

Catchafire is predicated on the same logic of sites and digital locales that we may be starting to take for granted. The sheen behind this tech is no longer as brilliant and arresting to non-digital natives – my mom has a Facebook account, google is a verb and Google’s a company! Even so, we cannot forget that individual creativity, evaluation, and rigor is driving all of our searching and supporting all of these algorithms and online activities. Catchafire uses everything – the creativity, the passion, the statistical models, the commitment, and the skills – to help professionals and organizations take part in a community of activity. It’s exciting and inspiring to join the effort.


Chris Chavez is a Service Officer at Catchafire. Prior to joining Catchafire, Chris worked with the Fiver Children’s Foundation supervising communications, development, and programming projects to inspire at-risk children to make positive life choices. Chris holds a degree in International Relations from Vesalius College at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and an M.Litt in International Relations from the University of St Andrews.


Give What You’re Good At and Develop Professionally

2 Aug

Catchafire teamed up with NY Creative Interns to host “Giving What You’re Good At: Go Pro Bono with Catchafire”, a workshop at the beautiful office of The Morris + King Company. Through the workshop, attendees were able to discover how to effectively leverage pro bono work towards professional development.

The event was attended by social media strategists, designers, entrepreneurs and other professionals interested in using pro bono work to build on existing skills and experiences, gain employment or identify new business opportunities. Catchafire pro bono professionals Andre Davis and Jessica Kantor also gave their testimonials on how their pro bono work continues to contribute to their professional development.

The main takeaway from the evening is that you can make a real impact while developing your skills professionally, simply by giving what you’re good at! If you are interested in giving your time and skills as a pro bono professional, please don’t hesitate to contact us at or check out our open projects and filter by your skill sets.

Check out photos here:

Thanks to Terra Fossil for sponsoring the wine for the evening!

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