On April 26th, 12 employees from IBM, many of whom work remotely in various parts of New England, converged at MLK School for a half-day of service and team building experience. The employees were greeted by members of our Community Engagement team and Dr. Lawes, the Assistant Principal of the school. The 12 employees were broken into two groups; 8 of them tackled painting the gym and the remaining 4 conducted a panel on technology/IBM. The employees did rotate projects so that many of them were able to participate in both activities. Prior to IBM sprucing up the gymnasium, the space was uninspiring. The walls were painted a beige hue and had been gone unpainted for many years. The gym is now a soft powder blue and the space has come alive.
Upstairs in the library, the panelists hosted 3 sessions for students ranging from 2nd-5th graders. Approximately 60 students benefitted from the presentation. The sessions were similar to Jr. Achievement in that the employees talked about their company, jobs and answered the students’ questions. Some of the students inquired about career options for themselves and whether they’d need to go to college in order to have certain careers. The employee volunteers spiced things up a bit by distributing prizes. They pulled names and gave out prizes ranging from t-shirts to animal shaped flash drives. Towards the end of the service project, the team gathered in the gym for a reflection led by our AmeriCorps. The volunteers were pleasantly surprised when a group of students entered the gym, led by their gym teachers with, poster boards that read “Thank you for painting our gym.” The students and gym teachers were pleased with the outcome and the students promised to keep the newly painted walls looking good for a long time to come.
Hands On Hartford Community Engagement Program Manager