Editor’s note: This article is by Gili Ginzburg, the community
relations coordinator for the IBM R&D Labs in Israel.
|Gili Ginzburg |
For dozens of high school students across Israel, the
power of positive thinking is not just an empty slogan. For the fourth
consecutive year, IBM scientists are helping lead Think Positive, a mentoring
project that teams up IT professionals with students around the country.
As part of Think Positive, companies and municipalities in cities around Israel work together with students. In Haifa, for
example, IBM researchers collaborate with representatives from Intel, Philips,
CSR, Taro, and the Haifa Municipality.
Program volunteers come together with one goal in mind –
to help students succeed and excel in math and science. But that goal, achieved through pairing up technology employees with high school students for one-on-one
tutoring sessions, has led to a wide variety of benefits for both students and
Students have shown a
24% improvement in their math scores following participation in the Think
Students have shown a 24 percent improvement in their math scores
following participation in the Think Positive program. They all score above
their class averages, and some move up from a remedial math class to a more
advanced level. Students’ scores in other subjects, even those unrelated to
math, have also shown significant improvement following their participation in
As part of Think Positive, we’re also placing a lot of
emphasis on diversity, with significant numbers of female and minority students
participating in the program. One of the most important tasks our volunteers
carry out is serving as role models. Teens come to IBM offices for the
mentoring sessions, and see first-hand what a technology company looks like, and what it
means to be an engineer. The girls in the project also get to meet female scientists.
IBM also benefits from the Think Positive program. Aside
from its value to society, volunteering helps prime our employees for
management positions. Volunteering helps expand employees’ horizons, connecting them with the next generation of scientists and engineers, and providing them with recognition and appreciation from colleagues and management. Millennials entering the workplace also want to know more about the kinds of opportunities available
in the workplace, so a well-developed corporate citizenship program is important
Moshe Klausner, an IBM Research
scientist in Haifa who volunteers in the Think Positive program, says it offers
opportunities that go beyond the regular work environment.
“Through Think Positive, I get a chance to help high
school students understand that the technology field is more accessible than
they might think,” Moshe said. “I also try to be not just be a teacher to my
students, but a friend and mentor. This gives the teens a nice opportunity to get
an adult’s perspective on a wide range of issues.”
Why does IBM continue to get involved in programs like
Think Positive? In addition to the obvious benefits of helping local students,
we want to let our local community know that IBM is a good corporate citizen. We know how to give
back to the community. And our concern about the future drives our interest in
community programs. Society increasingly needs more engineers and technology
professionals – and investments in programs like Think Positive will help teens today, and lead to more engineers for the future.
If you're working with, or connected to, a high school in Israel and want more information, send an email to me at gili (at) il (dot) ibm (dot) com.
Labels: community relations, corporate social responsibility, Gili Ginzburg, Haifa, IBM Research - Haifa, Israel, Think Positive, tutoring students, volunteer