The AWS Foundation and Aptera, Inc., a local Fort Wayne software company, recently unveiled the Indiana Disability Resource FINDER, a collaborative project that will increase awareness and access to resources for Indiana residents with disabilities and their caregivers.
The announcement was to be made March 21 in Fort Wayne by Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch along with representatives from the AWS Foundations, Aptera and the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community.
With hundreds of programs and service providers scattered all around the state, FINDER will streamline all that information into one user-friendly place. The database will collect, organize, update and publicize information about various services and resources that could be useful or crucial to the wellness and development of Hoosiers with disabilities and their caregivers.
“The state of Indiana is well aware that each individual with a disability is unique and requires their own treatment plan that will help them thrive,” Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch said in a statement issued in the days leading up to the announcement. “By connecting providers, individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers, we are widening the pool of resources and will ultimately get better care to our friends with different abilities.”
This free database is the product of innovation and imagination between multiple nonprofits as well as local legislators who saw an opportunity to fill in a gap that has made finding the right services challenging for people with disabilities and their families.
Once the need was established, the AWS Foundation took the lead in finding partners to help bring their goals to fruition. They found that partner in Aptera, which helped gather feedback and information during the discovery phase as well as build the site. The AWS Foundation stated that it covered all of the direct costs associated with this project.
“When AWS Foundation approached us with this project the entire Aptera team was excited about the opportunity,” TK Herman, president and CEO of Aptera, said. “Knowing that we could develop a program using leading technology to help others more easily find the support they need is incredibly satisfying. Of all the projects we have worked on as a company, this project is the most impactful to the community.”
The site will also help service providers get their brand out there more and potentially reach a wider breadth of people that could benefit from their work.
“Think of all the stuff that goes on in the community,” Patti Hays, CEO of AWS Foundation, said. “You can’t keep track of it all. There are so many resources available through the state, and they’re constantly changing and they’re being updated. To be able to have everyone be able to access the most recent information is exciting.”
Hays emphasized that this statewide reach is only the beginning of the vision for FINDER.
“We hunted around to try and find something like this,” Hays, said. “We didn’t want to reinvent the wheel, but there is nothing like this. This is just the beginning of helping other people across the country…That single vision of a one-click resource that helps everyone from a single database has been a wonderful product to produce.”
Service providers are encouraged to check and make sure their information is included and up to date on FINDER. Any changes or additions that need to be made to the site can be done by submitting the information to IndianaDisabilityResourceFINDER.org.