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Partner and Volunteer Highlight: Microsoft

Partner and Volunteer Highlight: Microsoft

The importance of giving time, talents and resources comes into focus in April as it is National Volunteer Month. This year’s theme is “Celebrate Service.” In Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS), our volunteers who come from the community, organizations and corporations see value in investing in our students, their education and future.

A “call to action” fueled by corporate sponsor Microsoft is helping to “build an ecosystem of support” within Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School (Tucker). That is how Tucker parent and Microsoft Cloud Solution Architecture Director Beth Smith envisions the corporate sponsor’s volunteer efforts within the school. As a Tucker parent, Smith said she sees how “the school plays a vital role in building and nurturing students and their families that make up this community.”

Tucker students hail from 51 countries and speak many languages. The school has welcomed children who have fled political turmoil and unrest in Afghanistan and Ukraine. Here, young Afghan girls have been able to peacefully go to school for the first time. “When companies give their time and energy and funds to schools, they are also reinforcing the idea that we are all connected globally,” said Tucker Principal Adaarema Kelly. She added, “For students to see people who look like them, women who have software engineering degrees, that is power right there!”

Encouraging community engagement among its employees, Microsoft’s Give program allows them to volunteer for 501(c)(3)s and request a grant of $25 per every hour volunteered. Various activities at Tucker benefit from Microsoft’s volunteer efforts, including the creation of its community garden.

With ties to Tucker as a parent, Smith is proud to know that a team of 20 Microsoft volunteers helped prepare the garden space. Tucker Teacher Addison Berg said, “Students' faces lit up with joy when they learned volunteers were there to help build this garden knowing that others care about them and what they are doing.” She explained the garden allows students to take classroom learning outdoors and experience it firsthand. “It’s important for kids to see the practical application of their learning and the garden is there for that,” Berg added. A garden dedication event is set for May.

Other Microsoft volunteer efforts at Tucker include:

  • Resources invested in an after-school program that is new to Tucker this year, providing six scholarships to students who show potential in the arts.
  • Support for a poetry slam for fourth and fifth grade students, led by a poet directly affiliated with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
  • Field trips for several grades, including a sponsored field trip to the Lego Discovery Center for first and second grade students.
  • The assembling of Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) kits for hands-on learning.
  • The creation of a Lego cart for students to practice engineering skills.

Looking ahead, Microsoft will play an important role in the Science and Math Night hosted in the spring as well as next school year’s Heritage Night.

“It is remarkable to see what can be done when people come together,” Principal Kelly shared. She added, “Microsoft is investing in the future; some of these students could be working for Microsoft one day.”

  • 2023-24
  • Partner & Volunteer Highlight