Jocelyn Marencik earns impressive number of volunteer hours

Catherine Shen, Co-Editor in Chief

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Throughout the past four years, one senior has amassed hundreds of volunteer hours. Senior Jocelyn Marencik has 800 volunteer hours and continues to earn more through her various long-term volunteer projects including Henrico Christmas Mother and From the Heart Stitchers.

Marencik began volunteering in elementary school by donating canned goods to the Henrico Christmas Mother. Then, in sixth grade, her art teacher taught her how to crochet, so Marencik began volunteering for From the Heart Stitchers. As a part of this program, she crochets hats and other accessories for cancer patients, pets, and veterans. She has since crocheted more than 650 hats in total.

Marencik decided to keep volunteering because she wanted to share her interests with the community.

“As I discovered new passions, such as crocheting and computer science, I asked myself how I could combine them with acts of kindness and community service. Throughout my middle and early high school years, I attended several computer science camps and classes and noticed there was a lack of females and other minorities. I also noticed that the inner-city schools had a lack of technology equipment compared to more affluent schools. I combined my passions for computer science and community service, and I founded a community initiative known as Got Tec Richmond (Gifts of Technology for Teachers, Education, and Children),” Marencik said.

Got Tec is a community initiative which donates technology equipment to under-served and under-funded schools in the Richmond area. So far, they have donated more than $35,000 worth of technology. Got Tec also mentors and organizes “Learn-to-Code Days” at the same schools.

Marencik has to plan her days many weeks ahead to keep up with her busy schedule.

“I always remind myself to keep a written schedule and a calendar, and I add every event and deadline to it ahead of time. Every day when I get home from school, I take a look at what I have written and prepare for the next day,” Marencik said.

This dedication to volunteering has paid off. Marencik has won several awards for her service in computer science. She was the Hilton Tapestry Collection and Youth Service America #LeadASAP Spark the Arts Grant Recipient in 2018. In 2019, Marencik was the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing National Honorable Mention and the Virginia State Affiliate Winner in 2017 and 2018. She was also the 2018 Virginia High School State Honoree of the Prudential Spirit of Community Award.

Marencik would like to continue volunteering with Got Tec while in college.

“My goal for the future is to complete a double-major in computer science and digital art/interactive media at a 4-year college or university. I would also like to take Got Tec to wherever I attend college, so I can donate technology and teach coding classes to the local schools in that area,” Marencik said.

She has advice for students who want to join volunteer projects.

“When you combine your passion with your service, it is life-changing for both you and for those you have helped,” Marencik said.

Marencik appreciates the lessons that she has learned about communication, connection making, and marketing over the years.