In the interest of sharing both the Resource Directory and the Feature Articles now wending their way throughout Pulaski County (Arkansas) via the distribution of Help YourSelf v.2.n.1. we are pleased to post:
- The current PDF ‘service provider’ edition of the Resource Directory which includes all of the Web Directory URLs that do not appear in the print publication and has NO advertising or editorial content. To download, just click here.
- The first of the full-length feature articles published in v.2.n.1., and the promise to post more entertaining and informative content from this edition in coming weeks:
THE GOOD GRID
“My advisor told me that I should do a social impact project,” Nisha Garimalla told the story of how The Good Grid began.
In 2011, Nisha was focused on getting into grad school at Stanford University. To bolster her com-puter science qualifications, she took on a project in India to help children in under-served villages gain access to educational resources. What she found was a challenge more daunting than simply introducing technology to the classrooms.
“One child said she has to walk 3 miles to school and she doesn’t have shoes so her feet bleed. Another said her dad beats her mom so she can’t concentrate at school.”
Determined to vanquish these stumbling-blocks, Nisha plied her research skill to finding solutions and discovered that there were a plethora of government agencies and nonprofit good-works organizations whose mission it was to help these same kids.
“There was actually an NGO [Non-governmental Organization] in that same state of India that provided psychological counseling to these children in villages,” she said. “And there was a government program to provide bicycles to children in these under-served villages.”
Thus Nisha started with the mission of creating a networking portal to connect those in need with those that provide services.
Coming home to Arkansas, Nisha went to work for Protech Solutions, inspired with the idea of using technology to unify the organizations and activists who want to help the under-served, namely former offenders.
“There are so many,” she said, about both the number of men and women who are released daily from incarceration, and the long list of organizations with missions to assist in and support the reentry process.
“There’s the CARE Coalition and Freedom for Life, all these different coalitions and service providers, government agencies. Everyone wants to help,” she said.
Thus in mid-2013, Nisha and Protech started developing The Good Grid as a free and readily accessible networking website, bringing together those who are re-entering the com-munity with services, support and guidance.
“Job-seekers can make profiles and upload resumes, non-profits and government agencies can list their services” she explained.
“Today in Arkansas many people find themselves in helpless situations and having to deal with a multitude of poverty related issues,” Nisha elaborated. “Although there are many good people and great organizations ready to help, people are still slipping through the cracks.”
The Good Grid streamlines access to a multitude of training and support programs via two main components. One part, called MyPortfolio, is a tool for people who are seeking assistance and their case-workers to prepare resumes and browse training modules for structured learning programs which address individual needs to improve reading, math, technology and work skills, search the Good Grid database of more than 100,000 services, and apply for jobs gleaned from various sources including local news-papers and larger job databases.
One exceptional benefit of the Good Grid is that job searches can be filtered to find those specifically posted for people who have been recently released from prison.
The other part, called Social Hub, is for networking among volun-teers and service pro-viders to raise awareness about assis-tance, support, and volunteer opportunities, outreach and fundraising events throughout the local community.
“The Good Grid is a free service,” Nisha concluded. “Please contact us for help getting started.”