Wednesday, February 11, 2015

February 11, 2015: National 2-1-1 Day

Please help us in congratulating 2-1-1!

Today, February 11th, is National 2-1-1 Day and VisionLink would like to be the first to say how proud we are to support 2-1-1s and their mission to provide free and confidential information and referral services to millions of Americans nationwide.

Right now, 2-1-1 operators across the nation are assisting with requests for services including housing, food, health care, and a variety of other services. VisionLink honors all of the call and resource specialists, and community organizations which work diligently to connect needs and resources effectively and efficiently across the United States and beyond. This work happens thousands of times every day, and millions of times a year.

Dr. Douglas Zimmerman, founder and CEO of VisionLink, Inc., will be presenting at the United Way CEO Summit today. The summit brings together the United Way CEO 2-1-1 Workgroup to discuss the work, commitment, and community impacts supported by United Ways and 2-1-1s. Dr. Zimmerman will be speaking about big data and its implications for 2-1-1s.

If you would like more information about 2-1-1s in general, please feel free to contact Lori Warrens, Senior Director of Community Solutions at VisionLink, and a founder of the national 2-1-1 system. Lori has been instrumental in the launch and growth of 2-1-1 and is now helping to pilot similar solutions in other countries. Please contact Lori at

Happy National 2-1-1 Day for the VisionLink Team! We appreciate the work you do, and are honored to support your work.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Helping Orphaned and Vulnerable Children in Haiti

Jacky was only 8 years old in 2010 when he was separated from his mother after the 2010 earthquake and forced into child slavery. After escaping he was left homeless and living on the streets of Haiti until discovered by Haiti Mama, a nonprofit organization committed to connecting homeless children with their families. The organization found Jacky's maternal aunt and after four long years, Jacky was reunited with his mother.

Most orphaned and vulnerable children in Haiti are not as fortunate.  While a high percentage of vulnerable children have a living parent, many do not. The current state of the social welfare system is largely inadequate for the disproportionately high need in Haiti. In order to survive, thousands of children fall victim to human trafficking, work in the sex industry, live in substandard orphanages or on the streets. The situation for children living in family households is not much better.  According to EMMUS IV, a study on mortality, morbidity and utilization of services in Haiti, 95% of households with vulnerable children have not received basic external support for childcare.   

There is hope. Catholic Relief Services is leading a partnership with the Institut duBien-Être Social et de Recherches (IBESR), the Government University Department of Social Work and VisionLink to develop an interactive directory of resources and services that can be easily accessed using the web, smartphone, and tablet (or printed for offline access).  These services include: protection, food, shelter, healthcare, education, legal services and mental health programs.  The site will also be used to maximize coordination amongst all service providers and support Brigade de Protection des Mineurs, the child protection police of Haiti.

VisionLink is honored to be a part of a groundbreaking effort to create a more promising future for more children in Haiti.  Named Timoun, the Haitian Creole word for child, our solution leverages current open source software solutions and is designed to operate in low tech or bandwidth settings.   

VisionLink applies world-class, flexible software and decades of high-stakes consulting and program design and implementation experience.  In Haiti, VisionLink tools are being used to deploy online resources, asset mapping, and visualizations and to build collaborative networks of partner organizations. 

Learn more about Jacky and the problem in Haiti that Timoun will help address in this article from the Huffington Post: Family Reunited With Son Forced Into Child Slavery After HaitiEarthquake Tore Them Apart. 

Lori Warrens
Senior Director, Community Solutions