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~ October 2001 ~
  • Technologies Role in Recent World Events

There is grief throughout the world for those lost and injured by terrorist attacks. But, there are also thanks for outpourings of love, condolence, sympathy, and encouragement from family, friends and neighbors from Sri Lanka to Sydney to Sacramento, and Sweden.

"Now let us thank the Eternal Power: convinced
That Heaven but tries our virtue by affliction.
That oft the cloud which wraps the present hour
Serves but to brighten all our future days."
John Brown 1715-1766

"We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results."
--Hermann Melville

I'm not sure this quote has any truer a meaning as it has since the Attack. The affect and its aftermath truly show that we are a connected people in spirit, soul and action. Technology played a huge role in this event.

On September 11, I was in the small town of Vincennes, Indiana, teaching a case management software program to vocational rehabilitation State employees. Right before a break, someone, who had been listening to a radio in an office came into by class and whispered in my ear what had happened in New York. My intention was to make an announcement at break. A few seconds later, one of the participant's cell phone rang. She answered it and exclaimed, "Oh my God!"

I stopped class and made the sad, horrible announcement. At break, I got to the CNN website. My computer monitor's image was projecting on a screen for all to see and we read together the unbelievable events. Many called home to connect to family. We ended the training early that day and I drove back to my hotel and watched the news non-stop on TV.

The outpouring of help by thousands of volunteers was instantaneous. Whether it was MTV, CNN, or the Shopping Channel, all made reference to their websites for information as to where and how to help.

In addition to information on how to help, MTV, http://mtv.com, suspended regular programming and played healing, profound music interspersed with E-mail messages portraying words of comfort posted on the website.

My friend who lives in New York, E-mailed me a link to a live video camera perched on top of a building across from the disaster scene, which showed real-time events.

Helping.org, http://www.helping.org, experiencing increased traffic to its site offers an abundance of information and many related links.

From connecting to one another with cell phones, listening to the radio while driving (Thanks heavens for NPR.), getting news on the Internet and TV, communicating with family and friends via E-mail, pledging donations on charity websites -- technology continues to play a crucial role in this disaster and its aftermath.

Indeed, Mr. Melville's words ring true, "We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results." Many of these threads and fibers, thankfully, are those of technology.

Georgean C. Johnson-Coffey

Georgean is a trainer and consultant in the areas of nonprofit management and volunteer involvement. She holds a Master's degree in Education/Staff Training and Development and a Bachelor's degree in Sociology from Indiana University.

Georgean is an Adjunct Faculty member of Ivy Tech State College with the Business and Industry Training Department. Her articles have been published in the Florida Libraries Journal and The Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances.

Georgean conducts national and regional workshops on Train-the-Trainer, Customer Service, Conflict Management, Staff/ Volunteer Relations, Fundamentals of Volunteer Management, Family Volunteering, Trends in Volunteerism, and other aspects of Volunteer Management.

Georgean is immediate Past Chairperson of the National Government Volunteer Coordinator Advisory Committee for the Points of Light Foundation in Washington, DC. She is Past Chairperson and Founding Officer of Northeast Indiana Association of Volunteer Administration, a professional membership organization representing 60 nonprofit/voluntary organizations. She is a member of the Association for Volunteer Administration, the Points of Light Foundation, and the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action.

Prior to starting her training and consulting company she served for several years as the Manager of Volunteer Services in healthcare, library, and social service organizations, leading programs of 500 volunteers.

Georgean C. Johnson-Coffey, M. Ed.
Blue Vision Training
15419 Timber Hollow Trail
Fort Wayne IN 46845
Phone: 219.338.1414
Fax: 219.338.1707

E-mail: georgeanjc@aol.com

URL: http://www.bluevisiontraining.com

 Copyright 2001 by Nancy Macduff.
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