At the Spring Central Illinois Salesforce User Group (CISUG) meeting, Matt Larson, the executive director for Dream Center Peoria (DCP), discussed how the Cloud is changing the lives of kids in the Peoria area who desperately need help. Now, Dream Center Peoria urgently needs your help.
Before I get into what Matt needs from you, let me tell you a little about his organization. Dream Center Peoria’s mission is to impact families living in poverty, starting with kids. During Matt’s presentation, he painted a very vivid image and gut wrenching juxtaposition of the experience of an 11-year-old boy and his younger sister, currently clients at DCP, living in poverty vs the experience most of us had growing up.
While, as kids, we rode our bikes through our neighborhoods, lived in safe homes and ate three meals a day, children like this 11-year-old boy and his sister oftentimes spend their days wondering when they will eat their next meal, and where they will sleep that night. Moving from home-to-home. Living with relatives or whoever will take them in, sometimes living on the street.
I’m sure the question you are asking is “why the Cloud?” for children and families in such desperate situations. Don’t they have other, more fundamental needs? But, Matt saw things differently, as every innovator does. He and his team work with Becky Steinlage, Director of Social Mission for NEXMachine, to develop a curriculum and teach the Dream Center Peoria kids how to become Cloud consultants and administer Salesforce.com.
The goal of this program is to expose these kids to the opportunities in life that lay ahead of them. To inspire them to break the cycle of poverty they are living in and see a future that is prosperous, a future that does not leave them searching for food and shelter, but instead for ways to help the next generation of kids. Hopefully, we create a generation of entrepreneurs and business people whose success will inspire the generations that follow them.
For those kids who decide to work hard through high school, attend post-secondary education, and pursue a career in the Cloud, there will likely be a good job waiting for them. Careers in technology tend to pay well. Combine that with the growth in Cloud computing and I can only be optimistic that some of these kids may come to work for me some day. Possibly even become my competitors. Or, even more inspiring, I may work for one of them.
First, we need to help Matt and his team continue their work. They are in urgent need of money for Backpack Peoria, a program designed to provide Peoria’s impoverished kids with the things they need to start the upcoming school year. Backpack Peoria helps kids start the school year right, which will help to keep them in school and to keep them motivated to stick with their education. By helping now, we hope to create the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs.
To help Dream Center Peoria help these kids, please find it in your hearts to contribute to Backpack Peoria today… now!