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VMware takes a unique approach to giving called Citizen Philanthropy. The VMware Foundation fosters a culture of service by amplifying the individual contributions of VMware people to their nonprofits of choice around the world. Employee-led groups of VMware people called Giving Networks build upon this Citizen Philanthropy approach by increasing awareness of and participation in VMware Foundation programs, increasing VMware’s global impact in the community.

In 2014, a spark ignited on the VMware Cork Campus as a powerful relationship with Age Action and the Cork Giving Network began. Deciding to become key players in the mission to tackle the growing digital divide, “Getting Started with VMware Cork” commenced in an effort to help older people overcome the fear of new technology.

Established in 1992, Age Action is an organisation that strives to ensure that the aging generations of Ireland are included and supported by their local communities. The organization’s mission is to achieve fundamental change in the lives of all older people by empowering them to live full lives as actively engaged citizens and to secure their rights to comprehensive high-quality services according to their changing needs.

Facilitated and organised by dedicated Citizen Philanthropists Elodie and Tim, “Getting Started with VMware Cork” enables VMware people to engage in Service Learning by utilising their technological knowledge and skills to teach older people in our communities how to get up and running on their preferred device.

“Getting Started with VMware Cork”, Age Action identifies a group of sixteen learners over the age of fifty five, and VMware Cork then matches the learners with sixteen VMware volunteer tutors. The group of learners then visit VMware for two-hour sessions, once a week for five weeks. Aside from the compulsory modules on the “Getting Started with VMware Cork” course, most of the sessions are learner-driven, ensuring tutors are catering to all individuals’ needs, speeds, and capabilities.

These unique sessions allow VMware tutors to practice a ‘hands-off’ approach to learning, enabling the learners to build their confidence and set their own pace while also encouraging more focused learning.

“Getting Started with VMware Cork” goes beyond the expected. Tutors employ a customer-centric lens and provide one-on-one support to maximise the learning experience. The program is driven by the passion of VMware’s diverse workforce, who are eager to get involved with this Service Learning opportunity. The large, diverse workforce in VMware Cork enables Age Action learners to interact with a large mix of cultures, which contrasts drastically with very isolated parts of West Cork, where a lot of the learners are from.

Due to the one-on-one nature of Getting Started with VMware Cork, much of the initiative’s impact is experienced on a small, personal scale between VMware tutors and Age Action learners. However, the importance of “The Getting Started with VMware Cork” initiative doesn’t go unnoticed.

Just last year, VMware Cork was gifted a Silver Surfer Award, which awards the efforts to celebrate older people who have embraced technology and those who have supported them. In recognition of VMware people’s commitment and dedication to the older people of Cork, Getting Started with VMware Cork won the Corporate IT Tutors of The Year Award at Age Action’s annual Silver Surfer Award ceremony.

Since the beginning of this initiative, many VMware Cork employees have utilised their Service Learning time and talents to provide one-to-one tutoring to more than 160 people over the age of 55.

With the aim to continue providing unique, one-on-one tutoring, The Cork Giving Network plans for “Getting Started with VMware Cork” to get bigger and better. With aspirations to double the size of each class and hopes to introduce a “Keep it Going with VMware” program, the Age Action team in VMware Cork continue to look for more ways to support Cork’s aging population.

With a commitment to continue Getting Started for the foreseeable future, VMware people are demonstrating the company’s EPIC2 Community value. Through this unique Service Learning program, the Cork Giving Network will continue to empower, educate, and encourage independence while also building friendships, trust, and an unbreakable community resilience.

If you’d like to learn more about the Cork Giving Network’s other initiatives contact Cork_Giving_Network@vmware.com

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