Cisco Systems, one of the giants in the computer field, is joining forces with Community Solutions in order to fight homelessness in New York City. The technology giant and it’s community partner are already four months into the process, and it looks like their results are decent enough to move forward in a larger fashion.
Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer for JustMeans, gives us the rundown:
Community Solutions and Cisco created a proof of concept program that started in April and will run until September whereby Cisco engages at multiple levels, both corporate and local, with the opportunity for other Cisco offices to explore partnering with Community Solutions in their communities.
Nice words, but what do they mean from a practical standpoint?
Cisco employees initially will be engaged in four areas. They will be sharing their life experiences as mentors to disadvantaged youth from Brownsville, Brooklyn as part of the Youth Advisor Program. The area is one of New York‘s most challenged communities. They will also help Community Solutions use collaboration technologies to advance its work. Besides, they will take part of a Fundraising drive. One of the actions is the “$50K Challenge Grant,” whereby up to US$25,000 raised by employees will be matched by Corporate NY/NJ Civic Council support. Finally, through Corporate Support, the Cisco Foundation and Employee Relations are supporting the “$100K Homes Campaign” through matching and local grants. One of the initiatives to be benefitted with this program is “Housing Homeless Veterans Faster.” Veterans make up 12 percent of the homeless population.
This is a good thing. The more we can bring contemporary technology to bear on the problem the better off we will be. Collaborative technologies can allow people to mobilize more easily and efficiently as they attempt to implement solutions to these problems.
Additionally, mentoring is amazingly important. As we have often stated in our work, all it takes is “one good-enough adult,” to make all the difference to an at-risk kid. Mentors who can also teach digital skills are an extremely valuable resource, one that can provide the skills needed to be successful in our increasingly online society.
I’ve reached out to Cisco to see if I can get an interview with some of their people about the program. If things work out, we should have some more details for you soon!