Ambassador Spotlight: Meet Matthew!
By: Jennifer A. Kelly
Posted on April 25, 2018
Matthew is a Web Developer who works for a small company in Sarasota, Florida. He creates and maintains websites for clients by day and for friends in his spare time. He began studying Web Development at Manatee Technical College, and since graduating from there, has taught himself more varied skills in the Web Development field.
Matthew first connected with Christine in 2015, while still a student at MTC. “Christine came to our Web Development class looking for help updating and redesigning the TIFF website, which had originally been designed by students at MTC. I was interested in the cause and the challenge, so I volunteered to take it on, despite having just started the class. As time went on, I started to get to know Christine, and by the time I graduated from the class, I was excited to keep working with her on getting the word out about TIFF through the website!” says Matthew about their connection.
In the beginning of 2016, Matthew and a team of students chose to compete in the annual SkillsUSA championship, a career and technical competition for students to compete against other students in their chosen fields. His team included himself as the web developer, a video technician (Jazmin) and a marketer (Tyesha). They entered the TIFF Website in the Career Pathways - Arts and Communication division, which involved the team showcasing a project that will benefit their community. After competing (and winning!) at the Regional and State level competitions, they advanced to the National Championship. There, they competed against nearly 20 other teams with similar projects from across the US, finishing in 4th place. Through the competition, they shared TIFF with hundreds of people, passing out brochures and TIFF bracelets. About competing, Matthew says, “I enjoyed the experience at SkillsUSA so much that I wanted to compete a second time, so the next year, in 2017, I competed in the Web Design competition (my chosen field). My amazing teammate Belinda and I worked hard to improve our skills to the level required for competition, resulting in first place wins at Regional, State, and finally the National Championship.” As Matthew has grown in his talent and ability for web design, he continues to work for TIFF as our Web Designer, aware that his integral part of this grass roots movement could make a huge difference in the lives of many. But for Matthew, there is even more purpose behind the passion: “I have a large family, and definitely feel that if something were to happen to me, or any of my family members, I would want my family to know right away. I don't want what happened to Christine to happen to anyone else.”
Each month, we hope to highlight a few people who have become TIFF Ambassadors- friends, supporters, donors- who have chosen to join us in spreading the word about TIFF and are eager to represent TIFF through their business or just in their life. With their stories, we intend to raise awareness and bring hope to others. We must be the change. If you would like to become a TIFF Ambassador, please contact us through the TIFF Website for more information.