Technology is powerful and ever changing. It’s allowing us to instantly share information and connect with people around the world. It’s revolutionizing how we think, learn, interact, and conduct business; and it’s magnifying our ability to help others and make a difference, as well. The use of technology for social good was a key topic at our cityCURRENT Signature Breakfast on May 5, which was hosted by ServiceMaster and featured the Emmy Award-winning personality and tech expert often seen on The TODAY Show and other media outlets, Katie Linendoll.
Katie herself is the perfect example of how people can leverage technology to make a difference in the lives of others. When she’s not traveling and talking tech in the media, she’s spending time with kids who are bravely fighting cancer. She helped establish and serves on the board of the Batcole Foundation (www.batcole.foundation), which honors Cole Winnefeld, who was born December 15, 2003, but sadly lost his battle with childhood cancer on July 29, 2015. The nonprofit supports research and families who are fighting childhood cancer; and 100 percent of donations go directly to the effort.
As part of the effort, Katie is personally funding Virtual Reality headsets and gifting them to hospitals where kids are undergoing cancer treatment, so the kids can enjoy a mental escape from the wait times and pains of chemotherapy, radiation and surgeries. Similar to Cole’s love of superheroes, like Batman, these kids have a chance to step into a virtual world where they can be a hero and do things like ski down mountains or fly high in the sky, once they place the headsets over their eyes. The idea for this struck Katie as she was testing Virtual Reality glasses and became so immersed that she forgot that she was taping an interview. She thought that if the headset could make her forget she was working, it might help kids forget they were being treated.
At the event, Katie also shared how technology is helping to save our environment. Native to the Pacific Ocean, the lionfish is a species of fish that was brought by man into the Atlantic Ocean and, with few predators there, is exponentially growing in population and causing the extinction of native plants and animals all along the Southeast coast of the U.S. and the Caribbean. Technology is now affording us the opportunity to mass catch these fish, in order to save the natural habitat.
With both of these examples, the key is looking at technology as a way to not only enhance our personal lives, but to make a difference in our environment and the lives of others. It’s powerful to know we can leverage technology for social good!