How to Impact Your Community in Just One Hour

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Throughout last week, several members of the Daxko Software Engineering team visited five different schools in the Birmingham area to teach an Hour of Code. Code.org organizes this campaign annually to teach students about computer science. The concept is simple – spend one hour doing a fun, engaging activity that educates kids on coding. The Daxko team used several methods to teach kids about how code affects many of their daily activities, including Scratch, a BB-8 robot, and Minecraft.

Hour of Code isn’t only fun for the kids – it is genuinely fun and rewarding for Daxko team members as well.

Daniel V. is a QA Engineer at Daxko, and he enjoyed seeing the kids “genuinely interested in code and excited about technology.” He continues, “Kids are growing up in a time when technology touches all parts of life, so they seem extremely interested in learning how it gets put into motion. Before working at Daxko, I didn’t have much exposure to computer science. I was inspired to help my own children learn about it through my involvement with Hour of Code this year. I hope to be involved in Hour of Code in the future as well.”


Napo M. facilitating for a classroom full of students


Shaun S. is a Software Engineer and has been with Daxko for several months. He says, “I had a great time playing coding games with the students using a BB-8 Sphero robot. We played magic 8-ball together and then programmed the robot to drive around, gesture, and say things to the kiddos. Every class asked me where they could get their own Sphero to program. The Elves will be busy making BB-8 Spheros this year!”

Shaun happened to teach his Hour of Code at the school where his wife Haley is a librarian. She added, “All my kids really loved the Hour of Code presentation! It was such a big hit that Brookville Elementary is buying its own Sphero!”


Nick M. and Butch M. discussing how code is like Legos


Butch M., Daxko’s QA Team Lead pictured above, says, “Seeing kids’ faces light up once they realize they can code is a great feeling. The kids we had the opportunity to share our time with is the next generation. It was great introducing the younger kids to some basic programming concepts and giving the older kids some resources they can use to get started coding. Minecraft + Python Scripting = Kids’ Minds Blown!”

Kelly M. is a QA Engineer at Daxko, and this was her first year to participate in Hour of Code. She enjoyed it, saying, “It was incredibly exciting and inspiring to see so many young girls and boys announce their tech dreams during our brainstorming session. All the kids were very motivated to finish their projects and problem-solve their way through code issues. If the future of technology is in their hands, we’ll be okay!”

The Hour of Code is an easy way to impact your community. The Daxko team will definitely be participating again in the future, and we encourage you to do the same. Get started here! Let’s do our part in paving the way for the Software and QA Engineers of the future.


Daxko Team Members Impact Communities Across the U.S.

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Today, we hear from one of our remote team members, Jim Keeter, who works in Portland, Oregon. Jim decided to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with a friend in Arizona, giving back to those in need.

A college friend of mine and I have celebrated a few Thanksgivings together, the most recent being 4 years ago. He was living in San Diego, and I was living in Seattle. We decided to spend a long 5-night Thanksgiving weekend in Las Vegas. Yes, it was painful! My friend moved to Scottsdale, AZ a few months ago and talked me into spending Thanksgiving this year with him. Instead of wasting more money, brain cells, and time (ha!) we decided to do something a little more real, more genuine, and more in the spirit of Thanksgiving. We came up with the crazy idea to cook 12 turkeys and all the fixings for those in need. Everyone needs a real home-cooked meal, especially on Thanksgiving!

We ended up cooking:

  • 12 turkeys
  • 60 pounds of mashed potatoes
  • Homemade stuffing
  • Green bean casserole
  • Corn
  • Fresh rolls
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Apple pie
Thanksgiving turkeys

Where do you thaw 12 turkeys? The bathtub, of course!


And we delivered the meals, along with ice cream, sodas, water, and a few beers. When the day was over, we had fed of 120 homeless Americans in the Phoenix area. I’m thankful to have spent time with warm, kind, loving souls who are starving for hope, respect, acknowledgement, a smile, hug, or plate of warm food. I am proud to say I spent my holiday embracing and feeding our sisters and brothers, and making a difference.

Best of all, this was easy. So I propose we all try to show a little kindness this holiday season and throughout 2017 with something I’m calling the 12th Man Holiday! You can start this on 12/12, and the idea is simple: Make a difference. Buy 12 pizzas for strangers, pay for 12 parking meters, yield for people at 12 stop signs. Any act of kindness and helpfulness is fair game. Mark the 12th day of every month as 12th Man Holiday, and make a difference.



Now That It’s Sunk In…

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The 18 months of the presidential election season were bizarre. It made House of Cards seem like a boring political documentary. 

Then came last Tuesday night! Things seemed to become even more unbelievable. In fact, I can’t remember a more surprising outcome of a major event…OK, the Cubs World Series 3-1 come-from-behind victory to snap a 108-year drought was pretty surprising too. 

Regardless of which (if either) of the candidates you were pulling for, I don’t think anyone saw it playing out the way it did. Some people were in tears, others in shock, quite a few yelling “Finally, we stuck it to the establishment!” and a handful googling “homes for sale in Canada.”

Seeing people’s reactions reminds me of something we preach to Daxko team members. During times of great change, those that tend to experience more success and less anxiety have a way of getting comfortable being uncomfortable.

A change is announced. They listen and observe attentively. Like others, they get butterflies and their face might turn a bit red. Then they quickly shift. They ask questions for clarity and understanding. They internalize. Finally, they come to the decision that with change comes opportunity, and they charge forward on this new path with optimism and determination. 

Our new leader has been chosen fair and square by the people, and we’ll have a peaceful transition like we always do. On those two facts alone, we should celebrate. It’s easy to take our unique democracy for granted. 

Regardless of who you supported, the sun rose again on November 9, 2016, and it will do so on January 21, 2017. 

We can all whine and spread the sentiment that “we’re done,” or we can embrace the change, hold our leaders accountable, spread optimism and pray our leaders do what they’re called to do. 

Get comfortable being uncomfortable!


Stranger Things

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Warning: this culture blog post contains spoilers for Stranger Things. You’ve been warned – continue if you dare.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you’ve heard about or watched Stranger Things, the much buzzed about Netflix original series. My boyfriend pleaded with me to watch this with him, and I knew I had to oblige him, as he’s watched two seasons of Grace & Frankie with me without complaint. I hate all things scary, so I wasn’t really that excited to watch it, but I dove in anyway. I figured, with as much as I love Buffy and The X-Files, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.

Binge-watch, engage. I was hooked. Totally hooked. HOW can I wait another year for another season? If I have to wait, I’m going to incorporate as much Stranger Things into my life as possible – including adopting some of the characteristics of the show’s characters.

Here’s what I am working on so far:

#1: Be persistent like Joyce.
We saw Joyce be single minded, with total focus on one thing: to find her son. Joyce doesn’t give up. She refuses to succumb to doubt, even when the odds are against her. Joyce works for what she wants, even if It can be exhausting. Refusing to give up, even when the odds are stacked against you, is incredibly important.

#2: Care like Barb.
It’s important that we care about the people in our lives. From our friends to our co-workers to the people we work with every day, everyone needs to feel like they matter to someone. Incorporating a level of caring into your day to day is one of the best things you can do.

#3: Try like Mike.
We see Mike refuse to give up on Will throughout the entire season. Mike refuses to let negativity get the best of him, and is the glue that holds his group of friends together. Mike has his moments of impatience and frustration, but through each episode, we can see that he clearly makes an effort, and does so for the greater good.

#4: Joke like Dustin.
We can’t work hard without playing hard. For me, humor is a vital part of what I do every day, every week. I love to joke around with my coworkers, or the people that I am training. Humor is such a welcome relief from structure and I believe it’s absolutely necessary to a happy work environment.

#5: Face your fears like Eleven.
Eleven is timid, but she’s also strong. She fears many things, but knows she has to face that fear in order to help others and restore order. I have felt that way many times in my career…the fear almost overtakes me, but I have to face that fear head on to do the best possible job I can do.

Bonus: Always take an Eggo break.

Deeanna S. is a Software Trainer and Tudor history buff who loves the outdoors.

Want to work (and take Eggo breaks) with Deeanna? We’re looking for a Software Trainer to join our team! Read about this opportunity.