Volunteer Spotlight: Dan Corbett

Dan CorbettThis month, get to know N Street Village volunteer Dan Corbett. Dan began volunteering with N Street Village in May of 2007 and has served over 300 volunteer hours in our community. His past involvement includes facilitating Toastmasters workshops, supporting our Walkathon fundraising efforts, and serving on the Luther Place Memorial Church council as a liaison to N Street Village. Dan currently serves on N Street Village’s Board of Directors and hosts a monthly “Game Night” at our night shelter. Let’s get to know Dan….

I grew up in Los Angeles and earned a degree in Computer Science at the University of California, Irvine.  I chased software engineering jobs all over the country, including developing the launch software for a space shuttle (well, not by myself!).  I eventually moved into computing research, earned my masters and doctoral degrees, and then moved to Australia to become a professor of Computer Science.  I lived in Sydney and Adelaide for fifteen years.  While there, I met and married a nice Aussie girl and moved her to DC.  My wife went on to teach the crochet class at N Street Village.  I now run my own computer research consulting company, Optimodal Technologies, working mostly for federal agencies.  I developed an early interest in the phenomenon of homelessness (as in “How does this even happen?”) and wondered how I could help.  I’m finding the answers at N Street Village.

What is your favorite D.C. restaurant? The Diner in Adams Morgan – for the atmosphere and the company as much as the food.

On a Saturday evening you will find me…Engrossed in a board game with friends. Every third Monday evening, you’ll find me engrossed in a board game with friends at N Street Village’s Luther Place Night Shelter.

Who is one of your favorite musicians?  No one can match the finger work of Al DiMeola on guitar but Melody Gardot has the perfect voice for jazz.

What is your favorite D.C. landmark?  The Signers’ Memorial.  No one knows where it is, so friends think that you’re a true local when you lead them to it (and you can impress them further by telling them that the Washington Post listed it as one of the top ten make-out spots in DC!).

What do you enjoy most about volunteering at N Street Village?  Getting to know the clients and all of their different life stories.

What makes N Street Village unique to you?  N Street Village is the first place that I’ve seen that has a complete spectrum of services for homeless and low-income people – from meals for anyone, through medical care, case management, recovery programs, education and housing.

Share one of your favorite N Street Village memories.  Wendy and I organized a series of Toastmasters’ speaking workshops for the clients at N Street Village.  On the graduation evening, we invited many of the local Toastmasters officials and speech judges to come hear the women give their final talks.  The Toastmasters were so impressed with the level of accomplishment that some wanted to send their own members to N Street Village to get pointers on public presentations!  Schroeder awarded the women their graduation certificates, and they were all very proud!