Whole LOTA Love

From Coding to Cooking

Sporting aprons and big hearts, six representatives from Online Trading Academy’s IT department went from coding computer software, apps, and websites to cooking pizza, pasta, and brownies for a group of current and former foster youth at the Orangewood Foundation for Youth Services.

"The team had a blast, and we all found it extremely rewarding and humbling to be able to help others," said OTA's Chief Technology Officer, Eyal Marmereli.

The Orangewood Foundation is a non profit organization which helps almost 2,000 foster and community youth annually to prepare for independent adulthood. The Orangewood staff works one-on-one with teens and young adults to help them identify their own strengths, attributes, and aptitudes while empowering them to overcome their challenges and reach their greatest potential in four critical areas:

  • health & wellness

  • housing

  • life skills & employment

  • education

Orangewood meets a broad array of needs from groceries and a hot meal, to transitional housing, to life skills workshops and employment leads, to their innovative Samueli Academy charter high school and scholarships for college and graduate school.

They also have a lunch and dinner program in which people volunteer their time and resources to cook for them.

OTA's Front End Designer, Maheen Zaidi, pitched the idea of cooking dinner for the foundation to the IT team after being accepted into their mentor program.


“They were so grateful.” Maheen shared. “They said it was the best pizza ever. To see how much they appreciated our help was just amazing.”

Starting in March, Maheen will be mentoring young women at Orangewood, some who have been victims of human trafficking.

“I am super excited about the mentorship program,” said Maheen. "They are always looking for more people to help.”

If you would like to learn more about the Orangewood Foundation and/or sign up to cook a meal, gather your team and follow the link below: