“I wish that I had started
sooner with IBM Volunteers,
but it’s never too late
to start,” says Brent Shiver.
“I volunteer because
it is all about others,
and doing something
for others enriches me
personally and professionally,”
says Anna Astakhishvili.
Part six 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: Brent Shiver (Brent is deaf and shared his story through an interpreter)
I'm a software engineer with the Accessibility Technology and Innovation team at IBM Research, where I design and develop software that addresses accessibility issues and enables others to create accessible products.
I've been volunteering as a board member of the Texas School for the Deaf Foundation, and was recently involved with the Mini-Grants committee that selected this year's award recipients.
I am familiar with the IBM Volunteers website and have been logging hours since last year.
When I volunteer through IBM Volunteers, I feel complete and content. I want others in my community to have the same opportunities I had growing up. I would not be at IBM if it weren’t for those who volunteered before me – my teachers, coaches, and mentors. They made sure I had the resources and the tools to navigate through life. And that’s why I enjoy giving back to the community.
IBM supports my volunteer efforts by offering a platform where I can log my volunteer hours. I feel like “wow” IBM recognizes my volunteer contributions to the community. IBM Volunteers gives me the opportunity to spotlight the organizations that I am passionate about.
Volunteering through IBM Volunteers gives me the resources, the kits, possible grants and also spotlights the organization that I’m interested in and support, and helps my colleagues become more aware of those groups. Sometimes they want to volunteer and join with me in volunteering with that particular organization.
The professional skills that I typically use in volunteering are collaboration, teamwork, technology insight, and coaching.
I wish that I had started sooner with IBM Volunteers, but it’s never too late to start. You can make time in your busy life for volunteering, and you will find it’s a great benefit to you, too.
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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