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Mentoring At-Risk Students Good for Our Hearts and Minds

Last week, I was acknowledged by the Alum Rock Counseling Center for my personal commitment to mentoring at-risk students. As I prepared my thank you remarks, I was reminded how much I value youth mentoring nonprofits such as Alum Rock, Big Brother Big Sisters, and Child Advocates. Through mentor-mentee relationships, students are propelled to learn, to grow, and to discover their own genius.

It worked for me.

HCF #2

My parents immigrated to the United States in the early 1970s with little experience on living, working, or educating my sisters and me in this country. As a result, I leaned on mentors to guide me in areas my parents could not. Mentors who connected with my heart and with my mind made all the difference, because literacy and math achievement programs alone were not enough.

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Cisco and Techbridge Inspire Girls to Discover Passion for Technology

According to the Girl Scout Research Institute, more than half of all girls say they don’t typically consider a career in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM). At Cisco, we can change that – with the help of nonprofit partners like Techbridge, we can inspire girls to discover a passion for technology, science, and engineering.

As part of National Engineers Week and our efforts to empower the next generation of innovators and leaders, Cisco welcomed 30 fifth-grade girls from the Komatsu and Esperanza schools in Oakland, California to its San Jose campus earlier today, where they took part in a wide range of hands-on activities designed by Techbridge. Since launching in 2000, Techbridge has expanded academic options and STEM career opportunities for underrepresented minorities and more than 4000 girls in grades 5-12.

Shari Slate, Cisco's Chief Inclusion and Collaboration Officer, inspired the girls to pursue careers in STEM

Shari Slate, Cisco’s Chief Inclusion and Collaboration Officer, inspired the girls to pursue careers in STEM

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How I Helped Middle School Students Make a Difference in Their Community

stliemThis post was written by guest blogger Stephen Liem, IT Director, Global Quality and Support Services

There is no limit to what education can bring. It opens up many opportunities that otherwise may not be available.

In the past 10 weeks I‘ve had the privilege of teaching journalism to the middle school students in Joseph-George School in East Jan Jose, California. Cisco has been partnering with Citizen Schools, a nonprofit organization, to deliver after school educational programs to low-income schools across the country.

Citizen Schools aims to prevent students from dropping out of high school through its Extended Learning Time (ELT) model, which provides after-school mentoring and support to low-performing middle schools. Volunteer professionals, or “Citizen Teachers,” teach 10-week after-school apprenticeships on topics they are passionate about, from blogging to filmmaking to robotics.

On average the schools Citizen Teachers visit do 300 hours less of after school programming compared to their counterparts. In East San Jose, where the graduation rate is at 79%, providing more meaningful educational programs has certainly helped not just the students themselves but also the community.

As a "Citizen Teacher" with the nonprofit Citizen Schools, Stephen Liem helped sixth graders create their own newspaper

As a “Citizen Teacher” with the nonprofit Citizen Schools, Stephen Liem helped sixth graders create their own newspaper

In my journalism class, students in the sixth grade learned how to interview and collect data, how to write an article well, and how to express and publish their opinions honestly and truthfully. Collectively they decided on the name of the newspaper – the East San Jose News — and the subject of their stories.

The results were both eye opening and touching at the same time.

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Cisco Volunteers in Massachusetts Join Global Campaign to Give Back

At the Cisco Boxborough, Massachusetts office, we are taking part in Giving Tuesday by encouraging our colleagues to participate in the 2014 Global Hunger Relief Campaign, which helps 13 local nonprofit hunger relief organizations. This is part of Cisco’s larger global campaign, which helps more than 160 food organizations worldwide. The goal of the campaign is to raise $1.8 million to end hunger around the world, and so far we are more than halfway toward that goal.

To date, we’ve raised over US$24,000 so far in employee donations, and we continue to make significant headway toward our 2014 goal of $43,000. We owe a big thanks to Director of Engineering, David Abe, who leads the New England Development Center and is an executive champion for this year’s Campaign.

In addition to David Abe’s leadership, my fellow Civic Council members, and a vibrant culture of giving back, our local Campaign launched with a beautiful artistic wall created by Lynne Abell.

Boxborough, Mass. Cisco Civic Council member Lynne Abell designed this artistic wall to commemorate the 2014 Global Hunger Relief Campaign

Boxborough, Massachusetts Cisco Civic Council member Lynne Abell designed this artistic wall to commemorate the 2014 Global Hunger Relief Campaign

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When Giving Gets Going: Cisco’s 48-Hour Race with Second Harvest

This week, Cisco was named the winner of Second Harvest Food Bank’s  48-Hour Virtual Race to End Hunger.  Raising money – just over $216,000 for this year’s race – to support our neighbors in need and at risk of food insecurity is now a signature part of our participation in the Cisco Global Hunger Relief Campaign – a company fundraising drive that benefits over 160 nonprofits worldwide.

After 8 years participating in the local 48-Hour Race, the Silicon Valley spirit of competition has spread to many other Cisco locations that compete in their own ways during the 48-Hour Race, including India and China.

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