Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Labor Day Reflections 

From 9 am to 8 p.m., the Astrodome Community Technology Center (ACT Center) was teaming with activity. New friends worked with one another to find loved ones, apply for FEMA assistance and unemployment, write emails to loved ones and reconnect with the world community. If you review the photos from the day, you will discover a room filled with people getting to know one another and building a new community plus a few photos of Oprah greeting the visitors to the Center.

Without the assistance of hundreds of volunteers who just show up, the ACT Center could not accomplish its mission to empower the evacuee community through the tools of technology. Many of the volunteers and evacuees have developed new friendships. When my colleague Jim Forrest and I left the dome last night at 9, there were several evacuees waiting at the door. One asked me if I had heard from the folks in Austin trying to locate her husband. I had not, but I told her that as soon as I had she would know. She thanked me and we wished each other a good night's sleep. Another told us that she had found the help she needed at the Center to find one family member, but she was still looking for her five children and her husband. Though she still did not know where most of her family was, she had a thankful smile on her face. It was a smile of hope grounded with the one succesful reconnection that the ACT Center has assisted her with.

Today will be another day of building new relationships and addressing the needs of the evacuee community through the tools of technology.

VOLUNTEER NEEDS - We continue to need volunteers to staff the ACT Center. For folks working in the morning, we ask that volunteers report around 8 am prior to the opening of the center. If you come later in the day, report to the Volunteer Program Coordinator for the day at the front desk. The Center is located at the bottom level in the Theatre Room at the South Entrance of the Astrodome.

Supply Needs - We need pens, pencils, paper for note writing, legal pads (8.5 x 11), anti-bacterial wipes, and cleaning supplies like Lysol and Windex. If you know a volunteer who will be reporting for duty, send along a few supplies. They will be greatly appreciated. Oh, by the way, if you have some reading glasses laying around the house we need those too. Many of the evacuees who use reading glasses lost them in the evacuation process. Reading glasses will help them to be able to complete forms, use the computer and catch up on the daily news.

Will Reed
Technology For All

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