“IBM Volunteers has also
boosted my career and
confidence. My volunteer
experiences always make
me feel empowered,”
says Bianca Perez.
Part two in a series. “Voices of IBM Volunteers” is part of the SkillsBuild program to reach one million young people through STEM-related volunteering in 2018, and five million young people over the next five years. Watch the video (YouTube, 04:20)
The drive to close the global skills gap is among IBM’s most important initiatives. SkillsBuild will call on IBM volunteers to promote activities that enable digital literacy with young people, introduce them to hands-on problem solving, and spark their interest in STEM learning—using resources and support on the IBM Volunteers web site.
In the series, IBM volunteers share their passion and perspective, in their own words, on what it means to be a volunteer and the positive impact we can all have on society.
IBM volunteer: Bianca Perez
Volunteering has always been a part of my life.
Growing up I benefited a lot from the help I received from mentors and organizations. That has given me a desire to do all I can to make sure the generations to come have those same opportunities – and even better ones. At IBM, I originally pursued this passion through serving as the community service co-chair of the Hispanic Business Resource Group (BRG). But recently, I was able to achieve even greater results by combining that role with service through IBM Volunteers.
This past year, the Austin Hispanic BRG, through the IBM Volunteers program, hosted a field trip to the IBM site in Austin, Texas, for about 250 middle school students from three different schools.
About 60 IBM volunteers used the IBM Volunteers activity kits to teach the students about science and AI. This was a way to get them excited about careers in STEM. We also teamed up with the research lab and the design center, for tours that showed the students what it’s like to be an IBMer. One of the schools ended up naming IBM their Business Partner of the Year.
This is all about creating a pipeline into STEM. In 10 or 15 years, these students are going to join the workforce and we want them to be ready for jobs at IBM and elsewhere. We hope the time we spent with them planted a little seed so they know this is something they can achieve.
One of the best things about IBM Volunteers is the fact that if you volunteer a certain amount of hours, you may be able to give an organization a $500 or $1000 or $2000 IBM grant (login required). I am proud of the grant money I have directed to several organizations last year. For many struggling nonprofits this money can make a huge difference.
IBM Volunteers has also boosted my career and confidence. My volunteer experiences always make me feel empowered. They have given me the confidence to step up in my department whenever anything is needed
They are also helping me develop new career skills. When organizing events that sometimes involve 50 or more IBM volunteers, have to keep track of who is doing what, how many hours are being donated and other logistics. I end up being a little project manager, which is not something I do in my regular job.
I have also been able to tap into a group of like-minded people that might have never known. I have learned that being active in your community helps you meet people who share your interests and values. And by connecting and teaming on projects with others through the IBM Volunteers site, my job community continues to grow.
Volunteering through IBM Volunteers is great for the company and it makes me feel like I’ve done a little more than I could have done on my own. I can give my time and my knowledge, but the grants I have been able to generate are making a big difference in the community.
I really want to thank IBM for giving me the opportunity to do that.
For over 100 years, IBMers have created positive change in the world through their day-to-day work and their service in local communities. Since 2004, nearly 300,000 IBM employees and retirees have contributed more than 20 million hours of volunteer service.
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