Springfield, MO

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CAN-DO Net links those in need to community resources

Posted online

by Carol Harris

SBJ Contributing Writer

Matching community resources with the needs of people within Stone and Taney counties through use of the Internet is the goal of a new project of the Silver Dollar City Foundation, according to a release from the foundation.

The Community Asset Network Developing Opportunities, or CAN-DO Net, involves the assembly of a database of the resources and the needs within the Tri-Lakes region.

Surveys, which were to be mailed in May to appropriate agencies and individuals, determine the type and extent of the resources and the needs currently seen within the community.

The resources of social-service agencies, volunteer organizations, businesses, churches, schools and nonprofit groups are entered into the database.

The data becomes accessible to service providers, agencies and individuals via the Internet on the World Wide Web at When the CAN-DO Net web page comes up on the computer screen, a simple search on the need or request will produce the available resources. This page also contains links to other web pages, all free of charge.

In addition to matching needs to existing resources, CAN-DO Net identifies needs which currently have no matching resources or support in the hope that some may be found. For example, if family or marital problems are identified, but the costs for available counseling are prohibitive, CAN-DO Net services begins a process of finding new sources, arranging for subsidized service, seeking community solutions or finding alternatives to meet the need.

Operation, content management and maintenance of the web page is done by volunteers and paid staff, overseen by a community board. Staffing costs and operational expenses are funded by the Silver Dollar City Foundation. It is anticipated that the system will be up and running by the middle of September.

"We'll be mailing surveys to service agencies, volunteer organizations, businesses, churches and individuals. The information we gather is essential to the development of this project," said John Baltes, Silver Dollar City Foundation president. "We really need timely responses to the surveys to move the project forward so that the CAN-DO Net can become a valuable resource for our entire area."

Similar community-resource mapping projects have been implemented in Boulder, Colo.; El Paso, Texas; and neighborhoods in Chicago and Boston. Ideas from those projects are being studied for application here.

"The potential of CAN-DO Net in improving the quality of life for all residents of the Tri-Lakes area is huge," said Tracey Barton, community relations and wellness director for Skaggs Community Health Center. "There is no greater asset in a community than its citizens, who are concerned about meeting each others' needs. This project gives those with needs and those with resources a system for finding each other."

Additional information about the surveys is available by calling the Silver Dollar City Foundation, 417-336-7077.

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