Friday, July 30, 2010

Compliant with AIRS 6.0 Standards

VisionLink has completed another review of our compliance with the Alliance for Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) standards, version 6.0.  We are pleased to report that we are just so slightly shy of the 100% benchmark.  We'll have the last bit taken care of very soon.

We strongly endorse operational, technical, and data exchange standards as each increases the efficacy with which information and referral organizations can connect needs and assets across communities and states.  Certainly, every community and region has it's own particular needs, but a standards-based approach provides a tested foundation, a starting point, from which local areas can build and enhance their solutions.

We were in fact the first to support the AIRS XML Resource Data Exchange standard, the first to support all six levels of the AIRS taxonomy, and we also support the auto-update protocols for the taxonomy itself.

If you would like to learn more about AIRS, you can visit their home page, learn about member benefits, or explore version 6.0 of their overall standards.

Dr. W. Douglas Zimmerman
President & CEO
VisionLink, Inc.

Safe & Well Launched Nation-Wide

When disaster strikes, trying to find out how your friends and family are doing can be agonizing.  Not knowing is an awful feeling.  To meet this need, the American Red Cross offers Safe & Well.

Those who are hit by a disaster large or small can register on the Safe & Well site, and then their friends and family can search the database and receive information about a loved one's most recent status.

VisionLink is proud to provide this solution across the United States for the Red Cross, and we remind our 2-1-1, elder care, homeless management, crisis call centers and other customers that they may want to embed a link to the Safe & Well site, as preparation for future disasters.



Dr. W. Douglas Zimmerman
President & CEO
VisionLink, Inc.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

New Customer: Complete College America

We are very pleased to announce another new customer among the VisionLink network, Complete College America.

Funded by Gates, Ford, Carnegie, Kellog and the Lumina Foundations, this is a nation wide initiative building voice and capacity to increase college completion rates, with a state by state strategy.

The president of the National Governor's Association has adopted this as a primary issue for the NGA, and in a very short time, this alliance has grown to more than 25 member states.

Our Strategic Advantage team, led by Lois Ann Porter, will be assisting with planning, materials, and implementation for their very first Academy to be held in Denver, this coming October.  Participants at the Academy will be representatives from governor's offices, state boards of education, colleges, universities, etc.  There will be a Spring Academy for additional states, and the longer term plan is for the states to each host their own Academies.

We endorse this focused effort on college completion rates.  In an economy this rough, the skills or our workforce have fundamental consequences for our communities and our nation.  We cannot spend our way out of these deficits; we can, however, earn our way out with a productive and talented workforce.

Dr. W. Douglas Zimmerman
President & CEO
VisionLink, Inc.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Doing Your Part: Supporting 2-1-1 Legislation

We have launched a new page on our website which you can find here supporting the national call for 2-1-1 legislation.  Quick summary information, and a really easy tool offered by the United Way to contact your representative are waiting for you.  All you need is your Zip Code to get started.

Great momentum is building behind this effort to help make 2-1-1 available and sustainable across the United States.  Particularly in this economy, efforts to better coordinate limited resources are truly necessary.

If you've not made your voice heard, start today--right now.   It will take 2 minutes.

Dr. W. Douglas Zimmerman
President & CEO
VisionLink

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Customer: Crisis Call Center

We are pleased to welcome another new customer to the VisionLink network.  This is the Crisis Call Center of Nevada, established as an outreach effort of the University of Nevada, Reno, due to the high rates of suicide across the state.  The center is supported by individual donations, government sources, corporate and foundation grants and the United Way.

Over the years, Crisis Call Center has developed a number of education and information programs for the purpose of preventing crises, particularly suicide, child and elder abuse, and sexual assault, as well as ongoing support groups for Survivors of Suicide Loss and adult and adolescent victims of Sexual Assault.

Even better, this is being launched as a portal of the existing United Way of Reno / 2-1-1 statewide solution to integrate resources and save money on technology, so that more of the funds can be used to directly support their clients.  This is what a CommunityOS partnership is all about, and we are honored to support this work.

Welcome aboard!

Dr. W. Douglas Zimmerman
President & CEO
VisionLink



Sunday, July 4, 2010

Let Freedom Ring

Happy 4th of July!

As we have before, we're passing on some great writing and insight from Stan Stahl.  You can check out more of his writing since 2005 on his blog: http://letfreedomring-stahl.blogspot.com/

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“We are in the very midst of revolution, the most complete, unexpected, and remarkable of any in the history of the world.”

John Adams

July, 1776


The Fourth of July parade. Oil City, Pennsylvania. A lot of years ago. Flags flying. Trumpets blaring.  Cymbals crashing. Fifes and drums playing. The High School marching band. The Oil City Downtown Business Association. Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. Brownies and Girl Scouts. The city’s churches and its synagogue. The Rotary Club, the Elks and the Optimists. The American Legion and the VFW. Marching bands playing the songs of America – My country ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty. … Glory, glory hallelujah. His truth goes marching on. … Columbia the gem of the ocean. … Yankee doodle went to town. … And the caissons go marching along. … You’re a grand old flag. You’re a high flying flag. …  From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli. … Hurrah for the flag of the free. May it wave as our standard forever – a grand patriotic cacophony of song opening a young boy’s heart to the meaning of America.


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.


Declaration of Independence

July 4, 1776


In declaring our independence from England’s King George, the American Revolution was, in part, political. But it wasn’t the political revolution that moved the young boy; it was the moral revolution: all men and women are created equal. Swept away in one fell swoop was the notion that any one of us is created more equal than the rest. Not King George. Not his Ministers. Not you. Not me. Not anyone.

Four score and seven years later, Abraham Lincoln was to characterize the meaning of America in the great words of the Gettysburg Address: our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

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In today’s culture wars, it’s hard to hear the meaning of America. The angry and insistent voices of the factions that make up today’s political landscape are like all the bands marching in the Independence Day parade of my youth, each playing its own patriotic song in its own key as loudly as it can in a vain attempt to drown out the other bands; each band convinced of its right to be more equal than others.

Most of the time we listen to the bands that play the songs that appeal to some mixture of our sense of America mixed in some proportion with what is, truth be told, our own self-interest. Most of the time, we don’t listen to the bands that aren’t playing our songs; the louder they play, the more we shut our ears to them. Study after study demonstrates human behavior being what it is, we listen to the arguments that support our conclusions while ignoring those that don’t.

Today, 234 years after the start of the American Revolution, let’s not focus on the band playing our music. Today is Independence Day, time for a revolution.

Today, let’s set aside our normal human behavior for a moment and listen to the entire ensemble of bands, listen to all the factions that make up modern America all at once, all together. When we do … when we listen very quietly … we hear something wondrous. We hear the sound of freedom, just like that young boy heard during that Independence Day parade many years ago.

In our arguments over the war on terror and our Afghan policy we hear the sound of freedom.

In our arguments over energy policy and off-shore drilling we hear the sound of freedom.

In our arguments over financial reform and economic policy we hear the sound of freedom.

In our arguments over gay rights and the balance between pro-choice and pro-life we hear the sound of freedom.

In our arguments over the meaning of the Constitution, over presidential power and the rule of law we hear the sound of freedom.

And in everything else we, the people, argue about, in all of it we hear the sound of freedom. After the sound of laughing children, it is perhaps the most beautiful of sounds.

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Today is not the day to quarrel over America’s culture wars. Today is the day to celebrate that we, the people, are free to have culture wars. Today is the day to listen to all the voices, even those with which we disagree, rejoicing in our resonant discord.


Listen to our voice, the voice of America. That’s us we’re hearing, we, the people. Listen to the music we are making. Hear our reasoned analysis and our quiet prayers, our anger and our disrespect. Hear our hearts and our dreams, our fears and our joys, our loves and our hates, our hopes for the future and our broken hearts for the past. Hear in our voices our sense of right and wrong, of liberty and justice, and our relationship to our God or whatever.

Be proud of this voice, for it is the voice of a free people, alive to the challenges of today and the promises of tomorrow. Be proud of this voice that we hear in the grand discord that is America’s culture wars. That’s our voice we hear, we, the people, governing ourselves as best we can just like we’ve been doing for 234 years. Listen and be proud, grateful to the founders for bequeathing the blessings of liberty to us and committed to bequeathing these same blessings to those generations yet unborn


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There is a truth that emerges in the stillness, when we listen quietly to the sound of freedom, to our 234 year argument with ourselves over the meaning of our creed and how it is best reflected in our government: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The simple truth that emerges in the quiet stillness is that this is what government of the people, by the people and for the people sounds like: a messy discordant atonal arrhythmic cacophony, the voice of we, the people.

We have always been, we are now and we will always be the argument as, we, the people meet our challenges. The culture wars are the very chords and rhythms of freedom.

So tomorrow, when we go back to whichever side of the culture wars we happen to be on, let us commit to doing so with a spirit of tolerance and cooperation, a spirit that recognizes that all are created equal, so that we may continue the revolution, the most complete, unexpected, and remarkable of any in the history of the world.


Let freedom ring.

© Copyright 2010. Stan Stahl, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.

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Dr. W. Douglas Zimmerman
President & CEO
VisionLink