Dozens of employees at Microsoft Corp. in Mountain View participated in City Year’s Global Youth Service Day April 12, joining more than 200 volunteers in a service project to beautify San Jose’s Overfelt High School.
Overfelt has one of the highest dropout rates in the Bay Area, with only 75 percent of students earning a diploma.
Global Youth Service Day is an international initiative that brings diverse groups together for high-impact service that transforms communities.
“Microsoft is sponsoring the event not only to bring the community together, but also to encourage the school’s students with a revitalized and engaging atmosphere,” stated a company release.
Microsoft Corporate Vice President Dan’l Lewin, a Los Altos resident, was among the participants.
Lewin emphasized the importance of engaging in civic matters during the following question-and-answer interview with the Town Crier.
Q: How did Microsoft get involved in Global Youth Service Day?
Lewin: Two years ago, we launched YouthSpark – Microsoft’s global, companywide commitment to empowering 300 million young people by 2015 with opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship. Achieving this goal requires a united effort, so we partner with organizations like City Year to provide young people with the resources they need to become the next generation of leaders and innovators.
Global Youth Service Day is in line with our YouthSpark initiative, and we’re honored to have the opportunity to participate in such a significant service event right here in the Bay Area.
City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley mobilizes diverse young adults to serve as full-time tutors, mentors and role models to keep students in school and on track to succeed.
Q: Why was Overfelt High School chosen as this year’s site?
Lewin: City Year, one of our five national nonprofit partners, assisted in the selection process. Microsoft is a proud sponsor of a FIRST Robotics team hailing from Apollo High School, the continuation school that shares a campus with Overfelt. Campus beautification is just one way we can ensure the students at Overfelt are empowered to learn, innovate and lead.
Q: Why community engagement? What does Microsoft get out of it?
Lewin: Very early on in our company’s history, Microsoft made a corporate commitment to support employee giving and volunteerism.
Microsoft matches employee donations up to $15,000, including $17 for every volunteer hour. Last year alone Microsoft employees in the Bay Area generated more than $3 million for local organizations and nonprofits.
But the impact of activities like Global Youth Service Day goes beyond each individual event. By encouraging our employees to get involved, we inspire others to get involved, and it’s creating a framework for community engagement across the globe.
Q: Are there other ways you see Microsoft getting involved locally?
Lewin: Microsoft is working with nonprofits and communities across the region to inspire innovation, boost STEM and support those in need.
The next big initiative is with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to launch Silicon Valley Gives, a 24-hours-of-giving day May 6.
We’ll call on companies and citizens in the Valley to go online to svgives.org and make a donation to support a local philanthropic cause.
We’ve seen success in other cities with this type of crowd-funding initiative, so we expect significant community involvement here in the Valley.
For more information on Global Youth Service Day, visit gysd.org.