YMCA of the USA Receives In-kind Gifts from IBM to Enhance Early Learning Programming and Support Literacy Initiatives

IBM Young Explorer™ computers and educational software programs provided to Ys serving low-income, diverse populations

CHICAGO (Dec. 9, 2010) –YMCA of the USA (Y-USA), the resource office for the nation’s YMCAs, has received two in-kind gifts from IBM valued at nearly $1.13 million to enhance early learning opportunities at select YMCAs serving low income communities across the country, and to support literacy skill development among children and adults.
The first gift provides 100 IBM Young Explorer ™ computers, valued at nearly $260,000, to 19 Ys serving low-income populations.  The computers, housed in Little Tikes™ furniture and equipped with software in both English and Spanish, are designed for children aged four to seven to help them learn and explore concepts in math, science and language as well as socialization skills such as cooperation and sharing, which are essential to classroom success.

The Young Explorer computers are being awarded through the IBM KidSmart Early Learning Program as part of a nationwide initiative by IBM to provide 1,500 computers and teaching curricula to schools and nonprofit organizations that provide services to disadvantaged students. Currently the program serves more than 10 million children and 100,000 teachers in 60 countries worldwide.

Critical to the success of early learning programs is the frequent and significant involvement of parents and caregivers.  To encourage such engagement, each Y receiving Young Explorer computers will provide opportunities for parents to participate with their children.

Additionally, IBM will provide the following software programs (with a total value of $870,000) to 29 YMCAs serving diverse communities:

  • Reading Companion, a voice recognition software program designed to help students of all ages gain English language literacy skills by enabling emerging readers to practice online; and
  • ¡TradúceloAhora!, an online translation software program that translates websites from English to Spanish automatically, and also translates emails bi-directionally (English-to-Spanish and Spanish-to-English).

“IBM is committed to helping very young children, especially from underserved populations, get an effective early start to their schooling by using innovative technology and high-quality learning resources to make a real difference,” said Stanley S. Litow, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs and President, IBM International Foundation. “The Y’s deep commitment to education and presence in communities nationwide provides us with an unparalleled opportunity to broaden our outreach and bring real educational value not only to young children and their families, but especially to those who need to strengthening their English language skills.”

With a strong focus on urban and educational development, the Y is dedicated to helping people of all ages and backgrounds prepare for and become successful in school – from preschool to post-secondary education.

“We recognize the crucial need to offer and expand proven educational programming that will build skills and provide the resources necessary to help people become self-sufficient and successful, ” said Neil Nicoll, President and CEO of Y-USA. “We are excited to incorporate this generous support from IBM into our early learning and literacy initiatives, and we look forward to demonstrating meaningful progress in the months and years to come.”

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About IBM
For more information on IBM, please visit: www.ibm.com.

About IBM’s KidSmart Program
IMB’s KidSmart program includes the Young Explorer™, a computer housed in brightly-colored, kid-friendly Little Tikes™ furniture and equipped with award-winning educational software to help children learn and explore concepts in math, science and language.  The computer centers can also help children learn important socialization skills such as how to work together and share.  Exploration and socialization skills are important to prepare children for future success in school, help level the playing field and ensure all children have access to educational tools.  For more information, please visit: www.ibm.com.

About YMCA of the USA
YMCA of the USA is the national resource office for the Y, one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.  Across the U.S., 2,687 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors.  Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change.  ymca.net

YMCAs are nonprofit charitable organizations.  Any reference to products or services does not constitute endorsement, recommendation or favoring by YMCAs.  We acknowledge and appreciate the support of IBM by making the KidSmart Program and education software available to YMCAs. 

Contact:
Diane Hurles
YMCA of the USA
312-419-8374
diane.hurles@ymca.net

            

Thursday, December 9, 2010

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The YMCA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.