Raymond Chu
“Sharing my knowledge with
young people and seeing them
learn through our interactions,”
is what inspires Raymond Chu.

What does scant motivation to study science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) have in common with cyberbullying attacks? More than you might think if you’re a student in Hong Kong.

A lack of interest in the former and the growing prevalence of the latter are both—in different ways—having significant negative impacts on the education and morale of Hong Kong’s next generation.

As a Hong Kong citizen, Raymond Chu—an executive architect with IBM—is intimately familiar with both challenges the city’s youth face. And to help combat them, he serves as a volunteer for two groups: The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups (HGFYG) and Education and Student Health Bureau (EDB) of HKSAR Government.

The HGFYG provides opportunities and facilities for the social, educational, cultural and physical development of young people. The EDB offers quality school education for students from pre-primary to tertiary levels to help develop their potential and prepare them for life’s challenges.

What motivated Raymond to work with these two organizations?

“Most of my technical work has focused on what I learned at university, and then in my job with IBM. So that’s why I focused on STEM education,” he says.

“I’m also a father who’s had multiple discussions with my kids about cyberbullying. I wanted to branch out and share what I’ve learned with the younger generation, who are particularly vulnerable to this insidious practice.”

A long, distinguished history of volunteering

Raymond first volunteered with the HKFYG starting in 2011 and gradually increased his involvement with the organization over time, based on a common vision to address skills shortage through STEM education.

“I found that when I shared my experience as an engineer with young people, not only did they learn some things from me, but I gained energy from them,” says Raymond.

His unswerving commitment to nurturing future generations led to an annual series of DiscoverE Engineers Workshops, which reached out to over 2,700 students in 2017. Raymond co-created the workshops’ agenda, designed hands-on activities and served as an overall advisor for the program.

Based on HKFYG surveys, his passionate speeches inspired students, teachers and principals alike. For example, more than 80 percent of students felt the workshops ignited their interest in becoming engineers. The organization was so impressed by Raymond’s skills and abilities that they recognized him as a “STAR speaker,” making him a role model for other speakers.

Raymond’s volunteer role within the EDB was equally effective. He conducted anti-cyberbullying training and seminars to address the rising trend of student suicide rates, some of which were linked to cyberbullying.

Through his volunteer work with the EDB in 2017, Raymond expanded his target audiences to include over 5000 students and 200 teachers and parents. His abilities as a charismatic speaker made him quite popular with EDB officers, who often requested Raymond to lead their training sessions and seminars.

To meet the unique demands of both volunteer agencies, Raymond used concepts from IBM Activity Kits—including Engineering Everything, Explore Careers in Engineering, Internet Safety Coaching, Internet of Me and Cyberbullying.

He also customized the contents of his seminars and speeches by sharing personal, everyday examples. The lively tailor-made materials he created captured his diverse audiences’ interest and attention. He also promoted World Community Grid during his presentations to get more people involved in solving world problems.

The results of Raymond’s volunteer activities continue:

  • For DiscoverE Engineers Workshops, the HKFYG incorporated Raymond’s resources to develop other technology- and engineering-related activities into their regular youth services to sustain the promotion of engineering in Hong Kong. HKFYG created a highlight video, YouTube - (03:42) , to show the success of the DiscoverE Engineers Workshops in 2016-17. Raymond was the only volunteer who was invited to share his passion and call for action in the footage.
  • For anti-cyberbullying training and seminars, the program Raymond developed help student ambassadors create a larger impact through passing along what they’d learned to classmates.

Standing up—literally—after overcoming a serious health problem

Raymond’s volunteer accomplishments are impressive by any standards, but even more so considering that he suffered through a significant physical impediment that required quite a bit of work and effort to recover from.

Raymond explains, “A few years ago, I suffered from back problems and ultimately had three major surgeries. During that time, I couldn’t even walk, and was often bedridden. Support from IBM and a desire to share and to help society really helped me to recover and to stand back up.”

In recognition of his efforts, in 2017 Raymond received the Bronze Award for Volunteer Service from the Social Welfare Department in recognition of his commitment on 50-plus hours of community services on youth development. He also received the Caring Ambassador certification from the Hong Kong Council of Social Service in recognition of his expertise and time devoted to community involvement programs

He continued, “I take such joy in my volunteer work. I frequently share my experiences with IBM colleagues, many of whom then go on to become passionate volunteers.”

Raymond concludes by adding, “Helping society as an IBMer is one of the best feelings I’ve ever had.”

Raymond Chu is among 12 other IBM teams and individuals who are recipients of the thirteenth annual IBM Volunteer Excellence Award. The award is recognition from IBM Chairman and CEO Ginni Rometty and is the highest form of global volunteer recognition given by the company to employees.

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