My First Open Source Contribution

Bee Martinez
Jun 6, 2017 · 3 min read

By: bee mtz

We all have something to contribute to causes we deem worthy.
Any worthy cause will value even the smallest contributions.
(Leer en Español)

If you’re interested in writing for us, pitch us at join.ifme@gmail.com! We welcome anonymous submissions too.

My first Open Source contribution was translating a mental health web app. This is how it started.

When I applied to become a U.S. resident (I’m Mexican), I could not immediately work, so I indulged in online studying and learning how to code.

Learning to code came with the unexpected embrace of welcoming communities and resources (re: links) galore. One of those communities was #CodeNewbie, and among the first podcast episodes I listened to were the ones about if me.

if-me.org is a community for mental health experiences that encourages people to share their personal stories with trusted allies.

When I heard those episodes (here and here), I was less than a month into my code journey and I didn’t even know what Open Source was. I took a chance and wrote to Julia Nguyen, the project founder, expressing my interest in contributing, citing my background in Psychology (bachelor’s) and Bilingualism (master’s), as well as my budding front-end blueprint…

Julia welcomed me into the project and ever since she has always been supportive of me, like she is with everyone. Julia leads with certainty and encouragement. She is really open to provide and receive new ideas and feedback, and that’s why if me feels like a project that belongs to everyone who contributes. We are really all part of it.

A snippet of if me’s journey, shared by Nick Ma

In Fall 2016, I joined the #es-translations team to help translating the app to Spanish. I did a lot of it on Google Docs and I even sent my final yml file through our Slack team to be merged by the amazing Siena, because I didn’t want to break a thing.

When I was translating, I was and Online Communications Intern elsewhere and writing copy was one of my duties, so I was able to try my hand at if me’s social media too, mainly on Twitter. We also set up an Instagram account, although in this case credit goes to Cam, a talented, resilient, and lovely member of our team of designers. And when my translations work was completed, the blog was already in the works; we launched it via Medium in January 2017. Now, we use Medium’s API to display our posts on the website!

if me on instagram

Julia asked me to explain why working as part of the #es-translations team was important for me. It means a lot to me for many reasons.

I’ve said before that in if me I found a safe space to combine everything I’ve ever been passionate about. I didn’t think much of it while I was translating. Now that I can see it online, I’m so thankful for having been able to give back to a project, a community, a cause I believe in, even when I felt I had nothing to give.

This made things easier for me, and now I hope it makes things easier for you, too.

My first Open Source contribution was translating a mental health web app. Now it’s yours, tell your story. This is not the end.

if me

Open source mental health communication app to share your stories with loved ones. Available in several languages including Spanish! New contributors welcome 💜

Bee Martinez

Written by

24/7 Techie

if me

if me

Open source mental health communication app to share your stories with loved ones. Available in several languages including Spanish! New contributors welcome 💜

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