This year, the UN theme for International Women’s Day 2012, which is today, March 8, is Empower Women – End Hunger and Poverty.
In keeping with the spirit of this important day, we would like to honor one woman – Lauri Burns -- who is single handedly – with the help of about 60 volunteers – doing just what the UN has called upon us all to do.
What’s so inspiring about Lauri, founder of The Teen Project, is that she is using technology to help teens, including young women and men, living on the streets or with abuse or drug dependencies find shelter or support within a 30 mile radius. And she is using Trumpia to do it. Her brain child uses Trumpia’s SMS Text solution in conjunction with a sophisticated programming algorithm to automatically identify shelters, sober homes and services for homeless and abused teens across America.
The Teen Project’s System, TEXT Shelter Service, is connected with 17,000 shelters nationwide. As a result, when teens text-in the keyword SHELTER along with their zip code to The Teen Project’s Trumpia short code, 99000, they are immediately sent the local shelter’s address. Teens are able to text SOBER or ABUSED to 99000 if they are in an abusive living situation or battling a drug problem. The Teen Project uses the power of SMS messaging to help these teens quickly access the support they need.
According to founder Lauri Burns, The Teen Project reviewed five competitive solutions before selecting Trumpia to be its mobile text messaging provider. Trumpia offered the most affordable solution and best fit the needs of The Teen Project, which aimed to help as many teens as possible across the country. Unlike other services of its kind, which are expensive to support and thus cover no more than 2000 shelters, The Teen Project provides access to thousands more.
“Most kids who are living on the street do not know where to turn to find the help they need – but they still have a cell phone,” said Lauri Burns. “For them, a simple SMS text can mean the difference between life on the street and finding a temporary, but supportive home.”
Lauri’s organization has received much acclaim and coverage in the media – including People Magazine. Lauri has even won awards in recognition for her work – including a Los Angeles Business Journal 2011 Women Making a Difference award.
In addition to directing teens to different shelters across the country, The Teen Project owns and operates two Southern California based shelters of its own – one in Santa Ana and another in Venice. The Teen Project also provides additional guidance like assistance with high school and college admissions as well as help in seeking job opportunities and access to social services.
“The Teen Project is a great example of the power of mobile text – especially when it is integrated with other digital technologies,” said Ken Rhie, co-founder and CEO of Trumpia. “We believe that the possibilities are endless and, with that said, we are committed to helping organizations leverage mobile and multi-channel messaging technologies to achieve their goals – no matter how great the scope.”
As Oxfam International encourages us, let's honor all the great work of women who make a difference in our lives. Lauri Burns is living proof that the power of one woman can make a world of difference. Congratulations, Lauri, on all your efforts! Thank you for all the amazing and heroic work that you continue to do each day!