For the first time in several years, I did not actually sit down to write my list of 2010 resolutions, which typically includes both personal and business goals. The way the first few weeks of the year have been going, I now understand why. Everything is just moving too fast, and yet positively forward, so opportunities for progress and positive change arise almost daily, and thankfully we are almost always ready to meet the challenge.
One example of this has been my personal reaction to the earthquake in Haiti, and how Pearse Street has decided to do its part in the relief and rebuilding effort. In addition to donating to the Haiti relief effort, I along with so many others wanted to know how I could possibly do more. We often think, what can I possibly do to help the devastation that is so far from me? Sadly last year I had little time and no significant budget for pro-bono work which I was always able to make time for before. In the back of my mind I knew that this had to change this year, and when the opportunity arose, it took me literally seconds to say yes when the social network junkie part of me had an epiphany and realized that building a social network could actually make a difference in this travesty. JoinHaiti.org was quickly born.
I spent the weekend designing, inspired by my former-professor, dear friend and long-time penpal, Myriam J.A. Chancy. Haitian-born, she has been especially affected by the disaster, enduring more grief than I can fully appreciate. Through her I began to recognize the serious need to improve connectivity and communications between family members and friends in Haiti and around the globe, in order to identify survivors, those missing and deceased. Using some her photos of Haiti and the functionality requests of her network of friends to guide my way, my team and I worked through the weekend to develop an online community website to serve all of those affected by the disaster. While the site is literally brand new, we hope to see it gain momentum as a resource during this critical time, and beyond that, to become a tool for connecting supporters and organizations in the rebuilding effort that is soon to follow.
If it helps one person find a loved one, or connect one volunteer to a way that they can help, I will know that all of our after hours toiling will be worthwhile. And certainly it will have satisfied a resolution that didn’t make it’s way to paper, but has always been in my heart.
If you haven’t already, please do donate to the Red Cross to help this country so in need of our generosity. Be sure to also encourage your employers to contribute to the effort. Please also pass along the URL JoinHaiti.org to anyone who may need help finding a Loved One.