It’s National Volunteer Week, April 23-29—and Bienestar thanks all its wonderful volunteers!
For this special week, we’d like to spotlight Bob Link, Bienestar’s “laptop guy” and tech-savvy volunteer. Thanks to Bob and his expertise, we’ve been able to rescue the Computer Room at Elm Park and help Bienestar Promotores, too, with their PC needs.
Like many nonprofit community organizations, Bienestar channels the majority of its resources to directly help the people it serves. Often technology lags behind when it comes to investment. It can be expensive to pay for PC repair, software updates and tech support. With Bob donating his time and talents, we all win and are grateful to get our equipment working for the benefit of our residents.
Bob handles the hardware fixes, getting affordable replacement parts from Free Geek and other local sources. He also helps with software issues. Very often older machines simply can’t be upgraded to the current version of Windows and productivity software. Using the open source Linux OS and other freeware, Bob gets these older laptops up and running again.
Most remarkably, Bob does not have a degree in computer science—he is entirely self-taught. In fact, he once worked at the world-famous Mauna Kea Observatories in Hawaii as one of their computer experts!
Avid traveler and volunteer
Bob has volunteering in his blood. After earning his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, he taught for a year in Central America, then moved to Hawaii in 1976. He taught at the University of Hawaii for three years, built his own house, and then landed his computer job at Mauna Kea Observatories. He joined the Peace Corps from 2000 to 2002, then returned to Hawaii. In 2004, he volunteered for 6 weeks at an orphanage for deaf children in Peru. His work there was included in a documentary film highlighting the benefits of volunteering. In 2005, he traveled to New Orleans to volunteer in the Katrina-ravaged city.
And now he volunteers at Bienestar!
How did Bob get here?
He got here in a serendipitous way. He moved to Portland, Oregon in 2006, where his daughter and her husband had settled. Eventually he left Portland to downsize and live in Hillsboro, where he takes advantage of the Max to get around. While he was standing on the platform waiting for a train, two women asked him for directions to Bienestar, so Bob looked us up on his smartphone. That piqued his curiosity, so he decided to volunteer with us.
Find your own volunteer niche at Bienestar at our volunteer page.