Bootcamp Graduate Volunteers His Coding Skills to Help Combat COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has left lasting impacts on many communities and individuals. However, as a result, people are rallying together and finding creative solutions to unfortunate circumstances. Among those, are We Can Code IT Columbus graduate Anthony DeMeglio and the Can’t Stop Columbus organization. DeMeglio volunteered his coding skills to the organization in order to create projects that aid in relief during COVID-19. Together he and other volunteers have made promising efforts in their projects to move forward the mission of Can’t Stop Columbus. 

Anthony DeMeglio graduated from We Can Code IT’s Columbus FlexCode™ bootcamp in 2018. Since graduation, he went on to acquire a job as a Full Stack Developer at Bartha.

When COVID-19 became an issue that took over the world, it’s imminent impact unfortunately affected Anthony’s position at Bartha. Though instead of claiming defeat, Anthony decided to use his time and skills for a purpose. When he came across an email newsletter who’s focus included the tech community of Columbus, he was introduced to the Can’t Stop Columbus organization.

“Can’t Stop Columbus started out as a one day hackathon, and it turned into a much larger project. The organizers started realizing that there were a lot of people, at that time especially, that had a lot more free time on their hands and were looking to do their part for the community,” Anthony explained.


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Anthony DeMeglio, We Can Code IT Bootcamp Graduate

The organization soon grew from a hackathon to a network of volunteers, creating projects to specifically mediate the complications caused by COVID-19. Each project provides solutions to areas of society heavily impacted by the pandemic such as education and employment. COSI Connects allows a new way of virtual learning for K-12 students through teach-back content. Meeting Masterpieces, a project that markets virtual meeting backgrounds, provides financial support to local artists. 

Bootcamp graduate Anthony DeMeglio used his skills to support those fighting the virus face to face, the healthcare community. Project Frontline is a project Anthony took ownership of when he first began volunteering. The project acts as a messaging service used by health care providers and social workers, allowing them to communicate in real-time.

I ended up using the skills I picked up after class to start a mattermost server which is similar to Slack, only it’s an open source application…I brought on board one of my old classmates to take care of the front end development for me,” says Anthony

His contributions and efforts continued to expand. After completing project Frontline, Anthony went on to take part in another project aimed to help organize the distribution and acquirement of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).

The project was created by a group of volunteers that wanted to address the PPE shortage in certain areas. They were not only creating cloth masks, but they were also trying to find ways to obtain and redistribute them to organizations in need. Anthony discovered this project when the organization called to address an urgent need. 

“They were having trouble organizing the data they were getting; such as volunteers, masks available, and raw materials. It was becoming really challenging for the project manager because she was using google sheets. I saw it as an opportunity. I knew exactly what I could do,” he spoke with enthusiasim. 

To get the project going, Anthony knew he first needed a team of reliable developers eager to use their skills for a good cause.

“There was no way I was going to get it done by myself.”

He went to the We Can Code IT alumni page and reached out to previous graduates. With his initiative and some support from WCCI career services, Anthony gathered 8 We Can Code IT graduate developers to help execute the project.

The project is still in its very beginning stages, but Anthony has high hopes after meeting with all of his team for the very first time.

“I’m really excited about it…it’s really good…if I can help the PPE team organize their data in a way that allows them to scale. Then I feel the team will really accomplish something.

Anthony admits that his experience with We Can Code IT has given him the development skills to use for a cause like Can’t Stop Columbus. His training as a junior developer allowed him to “learn how to be resourceful and look for information pass the available resources.” 

“Without the backbone from WCCI I don’t think I would be able to do what I’m currently doing. It’s given me the confidence I need,” he expressed. 

This experience has allowed Anthony to make a positive impact out of hard circumstances. He’s been able to continuously evolve his coding skills and develop close relationships with people he would have never met if not for his efforts with Can’t Stop Columbus.

Though most importantly Anthony’s efforts are a positive example of the different ways we can help combat COVID-19 as members of the IT community.

“It’s about bringing the IT community and other business leaders together to do whatever we can to tackle specific problems as a result of the pandemic. It’s also about using the tools we have to do larger things,” Anthony states.

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a radical shift and transformation, and there are so many ways to take part in it. Whether you’re using this time to expand your coding skills, volunteer your coding skills, or even learn coding skills for the first time; there is a tremendous opportunity for growth.

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