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SBA opens small-business portal for teens; ACT-IAC throws charity gala for Homes for Our Troops; Superman, Batman…PIVMAN?

SBA opens small-business portal for teens
On Aug. 28, the Small Business Administration announced a new Web site for teens, www.mindyourownbiz.org, which offers a student activities guide, an adult volunteer guide and an assessment tool for entrepreneurial undertakings.

SBA partnered with the nonprofit organization Junior Achievement to develop the site in response to teenagers’ interest in becoming the next Donald Trump. The Web portal offers an interest inventory designed to teach teens the fundamentals of business ownership, and it offers ideas for adults seeking to sponsor classroom activities, student clubs or other after-school groups.

ACT-IAC throws charity gala for Homes for Our Troops
The American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council hosted a black-tie event at Union Station in Washington, D.C., Sept. 9 to benefit Homes for Our Troops, a nonprofit group that builds and modifies houses to accommodate service members with disabilities at no cost to the veterans or their families.

Organizers of the 500-attendee event hoped to raise at least $100,000, enough money to build a house.

“I think that we are going to go over the $100,000,” said Angela Drummond, industry chairwoman for the event and chief executive officer at SiloSmashers. “The [information technology] community really jumped on it.”

In selecting a charity, ACT/IAC analyzed organizations’ structures, their financial records and their relationships with the government contracting community.

“Because there was a Department of Defense focus, with giving homes to the troops…it was a no-brainer for us,” Drummond said. “We’re giving back to our own clients.”

One of the recipients of this year’s projects attended the event. Joe Dan “Doc” Worley, a Navy corpsman assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, in Iraq, was injured while rushing to the aid of a wounded comrade. Worley lost his left leg to an improvised explosive device and suffered five gunshot wounds to his right leg, leaving that leg severely damaged.

On Saturday, Homes for Our Troops handed Worley a key to his new home in Douglasville, Ga., where he will live with his wife, Angel, and their baby daughter, Abigail.

The foundation’s goal for 2006 is to construct 20 homes, each costing between $100,000 and $300,000. Twelve veterans are currently awaiting houses, and the foundation hopes to eventually have a surplus of homes to offer.

“We want to be able to raise enough money where we have an outreach program,” said John Gonsalves, who founded Homes for Our Troops in response to the 2001 terrorist attacks and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 2003, Gonsalves, a construction supervisor, was watching a news report with soldiers. Gonsalves learned that one of the soldier’s friends had lost both his legs while serving overseas and needed accommodations when he returned.

“I just assumed that Homes for Our Troops was already out there,” Gonsalves said. “That’s when I found out that no organization had been set up to do this.”

He relied on IT to recruit volunteers.

“If the Internet wasn’t available to us, I don’t think we’d be able to do this outside of maybe a local project,” he said.

Superman, Batman…PIVMAN?
Security company CoreStreet has published a series of comic books to promote its PIVMAN mobile personal identity verification (PIV) card reader. CoreStreet hopes its comic books will persuade agencies to pick PIVMAN as their card reader of choice for complying with Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12. Under HSPD-12, federal agencies will begin issuing PIV cards to their employees and contractors beginning Oct. 27.

The first issue, “PIVMAN for First Response,” depicts a rookie policeman ejecting looters and onlookers from a disaster zone by checking their IDs with a PIVMAN. Captions read “Grab the flares and a PIVMAN” and “Wow, this thing can really take a beating.”

The Homeland Security Department and many local government agencies use portable PIVMANs to verify the IDs of employees and contractors, CoreStreet officials said. The scenarios in the comic books are realistic, but the dialogue is a little less so.

In one situation, the hero scans the ID of a man treating injured people and discovers he is an emergency communications technician.

“Sir, you’re authorized for emergency communications repair, not medical aid. What are you doing?” the rookie asks.

“I just thought I’d help,” the IT guy responds.

“We appreciate that, sir, but you should leave this to the EMTs,” the rookie says. “You’ve got a network to restore.”

No word yet on whether Hollywood is interested in a movie adaptation.

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