Technology as an Opportunity for Change

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Over the past several months, I have had the opportunity to briefly meet a number NIU HAC clients.  One Friday morning, I noticed that there was an older lady, with a piece of luggage, just sitting in the woods.  Later that day, I realized that this person was one of our clients and felt sad that she was sitting in the woods, all by herself on a cold Friday morning.  During our meeting with that client, and other clients since, I have been impressed with the fact that our clients are intelligent, personable, and capable.  In addition, I have come to the conclusion that we, as a society, could be doing so much more to help those who are homeless and in need.  We should explore how we can empower our clients to take advantage of all of their talents.  Specifically, there are ways to leverage technology and to teach practical skills that are in demand, such as bookkeeping and coding.

Almost everyone in America has attended school (at least through the second year of high school).  In addition, our clients have an abundance of life experiences.  I am worried that many of them are not taking advantage of opportunities that life offers, because they are living day-to-day and just trying to get by.  When I see residents of Hesed House in the park, I wonder if even a few would be interested in furthering their education and developing marketable skills, especially in technology, as the internet has created many new possibilities for people to work remotely and as independent contractors.  While this may not be realistic, I want to help.

I realize that there is much that I do not know.  However, I remain optimistic because our clients are just like you and I in the sense that they want to be happy.  I truly believe that if one is to be happy, one must feel as if they are being challenged, engaged, and adding to the greater good of society

Based on past experiences, military and civilian, I believe that when others are given access and opportunity that great things can happen.  For example, when I was in Afghanistan, I was moved by the courage of so many young children to try to make a better life for themselves and their families – they gave me hope.  Likewise, I know that organizations like Hesed House and our clinic, add value in so many ways to those in need. Therefore, my take away from my own experiences in life is that we can do even more.

I have learned more about myself over the past several months because of this experience at the NIU HAC and I hope to continue serving those in need, long after my time with the clinic is complete.  Again perhaps we can use technology to assist helping the talented (regardless if they are poor or homeless) to find ways to continue to engage and make the world a better place for all.



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