Building on the success of sponsoring two families during the holidays last year, the Long View Vancouver branch has put on their Secret Santa hats again this year sponsoring three single-mother families in need. It is so exciting to see our team come together to spread holiday cheer and help these mothers give their kids a nice Christmas!
Just like last year, Long View Vancouver is sponsoring families through the Vancouver YWCA Presents of Peace program, which matches sponsors like us with low-income families in need who are currently active with the YWCA, such as women escaping abusive relationships and drug addictions, as they improve their lives and the lives of their children.
The YWCA’s Presents of Peace is a program that has been very meaningful to me for years because it helps improve the lives of women and girls in our community, and because everything we raise as sponsors goes directly to the families we’re sponsoring to help these three families have a happy holiday.
Over the past several months, I also volunteered to help the Vancouver YWCA digitize the administration of the Presents of Peace program by developing a custom Microsoft Azure web application for them. Replacing paper-based systems is one of my specialties, so it was exciting to contribute this so they can manage the program more efficiently. Matching a few hundred sponsors with a few hundred families was quite an undertaking in previous years because it required manually spreading out papers across the entire floor of a room and then spending several days working through the matching process. This year they’re able to do it in a few clicks and can now also track the status much easier.
I chose Microsoft Azure for this solution in part because the YWCA can take advantage of Microsoft’s product donation program [https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/philanthropies/product-donations/products/azure]. Cloud capabilities like Microsoft Azure enables the smallest organization to leverage the same computing power that the largest enterprises use without having to manage the technology. This serverless computing frees organizations up from dealing with process or technology, to focus instead on what matters most — in this case, helping families in need have a nice holiday season.