Smarter Cities Day 5 and 6 – I am proud to be an IBMer

I have never really associated my own personal identity with my workplace.  For the first time in my life I am changing that.  I AM proud to be an IBMer.  The Smarter Cities Challenge Houston is providing me with the opportuntiy to give back by Today, we had the opportunity to have a direct impact on a local non-profit organization and participate in a Houston wide back to school event.

We started our day off at the Houston Back to School Fest hosted at the Reliant Center (next to Reliant Stadium, home of the Houston Texans football team).  The Back to School Fest provide free school supplies, free immunizations, free uniforms and information for parents and children about services available to them.  There were 25,000 kids expected to attend.  This is just a mind boggling number since this is a larger number of kids than the population of my home town and current town of residence COMBINED!  It is truly excellent to see what is being done to help the kids of Houston get ready for school year.

Mayor Annise Parker kicked off the day and was king enough to mention the Smarter Cities Challenge Houston during her speech.   I have included pictures from her kick off speech in the gallery below.

After this event we headed to the Collaborative for Children.    In a nutshell, the Collaborative for Children works to s trengthen early care and education systems through policy development and systems changes.  Please visit the  Collaborative for Children‘s web site for find out more about it.

Beth Tracy, our local Corporate Citizenship contact for the Smarter Cities Challenge Houston, arranged for the team to visit the collaborative for children and put together Young Explorer Terminals .  These computers allow young children (2-7) to interact with numbers, children, shapes, colors etc..Beth not only donated the Young Explorers as part of an IBM grant program but also arranged for the team to ensure they were assembled properly…which we hopefully did!

With the Young Explorers built several children arrived to take them for a test drive.  The bright colors and engaging educational “games” really engage the kids and hold their attention.  I was able to interact with a young girl who was really enjoying this new educational “toy”.

I felt really proud to have contributed to the city of Houston and proud to work for a company who cares enough to not only donate money but cares enough to donate employees’ time.

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