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SIM STL – Community Outreach

The St. Louis chapter of the Society for Information Management has a long standing tradition of involvement at the community level. Our focus in furthering education and career building in Information Technology is carried out through various efforts with members donating time and funds to related activities and events on a regular basis. Listed below are just some examples of the work that has been done. Our partnerships in St. Louis include BounceBack St. Louis (info below), The Information Technology Coalition, Connections to Success, Therapeutic Horsemanship and Washington University’s Center for Application of Information Technology (CAIT). These partnerships strengthen our position in the community as well as provide for great events and activities that give back to the community and help to keep everyone up to date on current trends and activities in the IT market. In addition to those partnerships our membership regularly seeks out events and activities to contribute to that strengthen our community and help those who are less fortunate and in need.

Following are just a few of the sponsorships and philanthropic events SIM STL has been involved in.

SIM St. Louis Scholarships
Every year the SIM STL Chapter funds and awards a group of scholarships to local students. Over the last several years, over $40,000 in scholarships to students pursuing an Computer Science, Computer Networking or MIS related degree at one of our local universities. In April 2012 we provided an additional $14,000 of scholarships.

2013 Scholarship Winners
SIM St. Louis is pleased to announce this year's 2013 SIM Scholarship Award Winners! Each scholarship was awarded at $2,000 and candidates were selected on their Year in School, as well as their IT Career Goals and Contributions to their IT Programs. The scholarship winners represented many of our local universities, and we are thrilled with both their current and future contributions to the IT Leadership Community. 

Ross Creager – UMSL
Andrew Pearson – SIUE
Brynn Gelerman – Washington University

Women in Leadership
SIM St. Louis teamed up with St. Louis University to sponsor our first-ever "Women in IT Leadership" Panel. The mission of the panel is: "To help inspire and motivate young people considering IT and Business careers through the sharing of our panelists' stories, career advice and words of wisdom." Over 80 students were in attendance and the event was a hit with everyone in attendance. As a result of this highly successful event we will be seeking a local university or college to partner with each semester for a twice-yearly panel event to benefit and inspire our St. Louis student community. Keep an eye on our site for more information!

BounceBack St. Louis
When early signs of an impending recession hit the local economy the St. Louis Chapter of SIM joined a nascent public-private partnership dedicated to re-engaging and retaining valuable IT talent in the St. Louis area. Among the founding partners of the "Bounceback St. Louis” initiative were the St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, and several HR, outplacement, and many other stakeholders. For more information please click here.

Therapeutic Horsemanship
Therapeutic Horsemanship is the legacy of a visionary commitment from three extraordinary St. Louis women - Susie Duesinger, Sandy Rafferty and Laura Carpenter Balding - who began the program in 1975 because they believed in the benefit of equine-assisted therapy for children with disabilities.

Members of SIM STL did an IT review and improvement suggestions for the Therapeutic Horsemanship offices. A team of four reviewed the IT, telecommunications and business processes at this charitable organization. The team prepared a report on its findings and provided suggestions for process and cost improvements.

In addition a chapter member’s company donated desktops and monitors and a chapter member donated extensive programming time to configuring Salesforce.com for their case management tracking.

Operation Backpack
Excerpted from the website: 85% of children enrolled in St. Louis public schools rely on free or reduced-cost meal programs. For those children, weekends are filled with hunger and despair as they often go home to houses with little or no food. Backpacks filled with nutritious, kid-friendly, easy-to-prepare foods are given to children on Friday before school dismissal. On Monday, students return the empty backpacks and the cycle continues.

DonorsChoose.org
Donors Choose is an online charity that makes it easy to help students in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests. Requests range from pencils for a poetry writing unit to violins for a school recital to microscope slides for a biology class. Donors Choose utilizes a unique method of donation and funds management that allows the donors to select the projects to donate to and tracks the donations, gives feedback and gives the donor the ability to get completely involved or remain wholly anonymous. STL SIM reviewed many requests before choosing the following:

STL SIM selected projects that are a direct reflection of their charter to improve the community by giving to areas with the greatest need and have the greatest impact with the best possible outcomes. Last but not least, the donations above reflect a considerable improvement to the chosen schools IT Infrastructure which is directly in line with our organizational goals and objectives. Donations for 2011 are a total over $4,800 and have positively impacted over 600 kids as a result of the various projects.

SIM St. Louis is pleased to welcome Joe Parker from MasterCard as our new Director of Community Outreach. As we plan our 2012 charitable outreach activities, donations and partnerships, we want to hear from you! Please reach out to Ken at kennethfreeman@webster.edu and let him know which organizations you would like SIM St. Louis to partner with.

Xtreme IT / UMSL
More high school students will now have an opportunity to learn about careers in information technology thanks to a generous grant from the SIM giveback program. This grant SIM St Louis gave will be used to support pre-collegiate summer academy at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Xtreme IT! introduces the field of information systems to the younger generation and exposes them to the wide range of possible career choices available. It highlights the fact that IS/IT is no longer "heads down programming in a cubicle.” The goal of the program is to introduce the range of opportunities across all kinds of industries and to encourage the students to pursue careers in IS/IT. This grant will be used to attract women and minorities to the camp, especially those with financial need, in an effort to increase their interest in, and pursuit of a career in information systems.

Webster University
Each spring the Walker School of Business & Technology at Webster University hosts a computer programming contest for high school students. Since its inception in 2004, approximately 300 area high school students have participated. Schools send teams of two to three students to compete in the three hour competition. Teams may register for either the object-oriented division of the web programming division and are asked to solve a set a problems within a three hour time limit. Teams are judged on the number of problems solved along with the total elapsed time. The contest challenges not only the students’ programming knowledge but also their ability to work as a team. All participants receive a continental breakfast, lunch and a contest t-shirt. Winning teams in each division receive individual medals, a team trophy and a cash prize. This year’s contest will be held Saturday, April 20th.
 

Boys Hope Girls Hope of St Louis
Boys Hope Girls Hope of St. Louis is a privately funded, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization which operates two family-like residential homes and, as of September 2011, has grown to include a community-based program in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Our mission is to help academically capable and motivated children-in-need to meet their full potential and become men and women for others by providing value-centered, family-like homes, opportunities and education through college.

We help children facing serious familial and environmental barriers overcome their compromising circumstances and grow into educated and responsible individuals who enrich their families, their workplaces and their communities. We admit the youth into our opportunity rich, academically focused home environment between the ages of ten and fifteen. Our scholars have average or above academic capacity as per pre-admission psycho-educational assessments. However, due to school and home transience and lack of educational support, they often have significant learning gaps. We tailor academic and whole person programming to meet the needs of each individual scholar. Over time, our programming instills a goal setting, achievement orientation. The scholars become equipped with the emotional, social and life-skill competency for success in the college setting and beyond.

As a privately funded agency, Boys Hope Girls Hope of St. Louis relies on our friends and supporters to make our programs possible.  SIM St Louis’ support would allow us to increase our technology capacity and pay for Internet services for the year, along with minor scholar computer repairs. To read more, visit their website.

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