As is quite evident today, data can be used to improve just about everything. Our data-centered volunteer work has allowed us to help find missing people and provide education to children in need. Some programs are several years or even decades old. Their sustainability has depended on aligning our business goals with the goals of the communities we serve.
According to the FBI in 2018, there were 424,066 children reported missing in the U.S. Time is of the essence when it comes to missing children, which is why the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) relies on The ADAM (Automated Delivery of Alerts on Missing Children) Program. NCMEC uses ADAM to quickly distribute a poster including a photo and critical details of a missing child to law enforcement, news media, schools, businesses, medical centers, or other organizations and individuals within a targeted geographic area. Enhanced capabilities include a visualized map interface giving NCMEC the ability to focus the search area along a highway corridor or within a designated mile radius of a specific address, and allowing the public to help by signing up to receive missing child alerts in their area at adamprogram.com.
Today, more than 1.3 million individuals and organizations in the U.S. receive ADAM alerts, which has helped NCMEC recover more than 180 missing children.
Missing People, a U.K. charity, has a similar program which includes missing children and adults. That system disseminates missing person alerts via text. The Missing People database was a cooperative effort with Missing People and the U.K.'s National Crime Agency. Charlie Hedges Advisory, one of the U.K.'s foremost experts on missing persons, helped scope a training course that assists law enforcement, schools, hospitals, etc.
Quite often, children are abducted by someone they know, such as a parent or grandparent. In some cases, it's hard to find the missing children because the family member abductor(s) changed their own names as well as the names of the children. The database is capable of seeing beyond those obfuscation attempts which enables more missing people to be reunited with their families. The system can also help narrow the search for repeat and serial crime suspects.
Children Get the Education They Deserve
Nearly 75 million children worldwide have had their education disrupted or ended by natural disasters, conflicts or other emergencies. When children lack access to the educational programs, materials, and supplies they need, they are at risk for trafficking, child labor, forced marriage, or recruitment into armed groups.
The Global Business Coalition for Education's (GBC-Education's) REACT initiative matches corporate contributions for education with the would-be students whose lives have been disrupted by disaster. Although members of the initiative coordinate with peers, government, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), it can be difficult to make contributions available where they're needed and when they're needed. The REACT database tracks the need for education solutions in real-time and maps the requests to the available contributions from the business community.
In our experience, the greatest contributions and the greatest rewards come from aligning volunteer efforts with the company's strategic goals. That way, we can do something beneficial for our company and stakeholders while making the world a better place.