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There is nothing so powerful as a small group of dedicated people working together for a cause. There are new causes popping up all the time. A young child dies, and a new cause is born as the friends and relatives of that child, in dedication to the child's memory, gather together and work toward a common goal that will decrease such deaths in the future. A police officer or fire fighter is killed in the line of duty, and the community unites to improve communication and relationships to prevent the tragedy from being repeated. Peace and anti-violence, cancer research and health, improving the community, economic development; there is no end to the wonderful activities of people toward causes that improve the community.

Causes Can Grow Into Movements and Organizations that Change the World

Sometimes those causes catch on and grow. Easter Seals started in 1907 by Ohio-businessman Edgar Allen after he lost his son in a streetcar accident. The lack of adequate medical services available to save his son prompted Allen to sell his business and begin a fund-raising campaign to build a hospital in his hometown of Elyria, Ohio. One of the fundraising ideas was to send "seals" to people to use on their letters. The overwhelming public support for the Easter "seals" campaign triggered a nationwide expansion of the organization and a swell of grassroots efforts on behalf of people with disabilities. By 1967, the Easter "seal" was so well recognized, the organization formally adopted the name "Easter Seals."

Today Easter Seals is a 1.6 billion dollar multi-national organization with 3 million employees and volunteers serving 1.8 million children and adults with disabilities in 920 different programs. It has truly changed the world.

Another cause that started from a tragedy; in April of 1999, there was a terrible tragedy at Columbine High School. Two students, reportedly in pain and anguish from bullying, planned out a massacre that injured 24 people and killed 12 students and one teacher. The first person killed was a young girl named Rachel Scott. Immediately after the tragedy, her father Darrell started a movement called "Rachel's Challenge" to illustrate the need for a kinder, more compassionate nation.

Today, Darrell and over thirty presenters honor Rachel's life by presenting Rachel's simple but profound message. More than 21 million people have heard Rachel's message in presentations in schools and programs all over the country. Each year at least 2 million more people hear the presentation. In one follow up survey, 78% of students said they would intervene in a bullying incident in their school after seeing Rachel's Challenge. Rachel's Challenge has received nearly 500 unsolicited emails from students stating that after hearing Rachel's story they reached out for help as they were contemplating suicide. Some even state that Rachel saved their life.

Helping Causes Maintain Momentum

Sometime, sadly, causes are started, but don't have the staying power necessary to grow. Often this occurs because the original founder gets sick or passes away, or the organization did not progress to an independent or non-profit status. No matter how beneficial the cause, no matter how important the issue, no matter how passionate the original idea, keeping a cause going is difficult. It takes money, it takes work, and it takes technology.

It is HPL Consortium's goal to ensure that small groups with causes get the tools and technology support they need to thrive and flourish long after the original founders are gone. A website, a newsletter, a way of soliciting contributions, and a way of communicating with others who are in sympathy with the cause; sometimes that is all that is necessary to start a grass-roots movement that becomes a national program.

While you are waiting for CIRWEP to become fully developed and available, you may want to review a list of technology tools already freely available so that you can get help in maintaining the momentum of your cause. You may also want to get on our list so that you can stay in the loop and know when CIRWEP will be available for your use.