Samsung announced this week a collaboration with channel partner SLYN Systems & Peripherals (SS&P) to provide $10,000 worth of Samsung technology to Maryhurst, a Louisville, Ky.-based children’s foster care agency and winner of Samsung’s Hope for Children Channel Award.
The award is part of Samsung’s larger Hope for Children program, which launched in 2011, the company said. Channel partners participating in Samsung’s Partners in Innovation program can nominate local institutions for the award, which is given out quarterly, through Samsung’s online Partner Center portal.
The Hope for Children Channel Award isn’t the first time Jeff Slyn, owner of the Louisville-based SS&P, has lent a hand to Maryhurst. The long-time Samsung partner has volunteered for years at the organization, which is Kentucky’s oldest operating child welfare agency providing foster care and education to girls who have suffered physical or emotional abuse.
"Each year on Christmas day, for the past six or seven years, I have gone over there and volunteered," Slyn told CRN. "What we do is we bring in food, we warm it up, and we serve two different shifts for the girls there. And then we clean up, we put it away, and we entertain them after they eat. We come in probably about 10 o’clock in the morning and leave around 2:30 each Christmas. I love doing that."
Slyn, who developed a passion for volunteering from his father, said Maryhurst came to mind as soon as he opened the e-mail from Samsung, inviting partners to nominate their local picks for the award. When he received news from Samsung in January that Maryhurst had officially won the Hope for Children Channel Award, he was thrilled.
"It’s wonderful, wonderful thing. I can tell you when I found out … that off all the people nationally that had been nominated, that we had won, it just totally blew me away," Slyn said. "I couldn’t believe it. I was on cloud nine."
Maryhurst shared in Slyn’s excitement -- and surprise. "It was a complete shock," said David Short, Director of Donor Relations at Maryhurst. Short explained that, while local foundations serve as the organization’s financial "bread and butter," recognition on a national level is rare. "The fact that Samsung was willing to let an organization of our size be considered, and then to win -- we were hootin’ and hollering," Short said. "And our IT guy was doing cartwheels."
Short said that Maryhurst plans to use its newly awarded Samsung devices -- which will primarily be monitors and notebooks, per the organization’s request -- for a variety of causes. Some will be used in Maryhurst’s on-campus computer lab for children receiving care, others will travel with children to foster "forever" homes so parents can more efficiently keep in touch with Maryhurst staff, and some will replace the organization’s internal PCs, which were long over-due for an update, Short said.
"As with most social service agencies, most non-profits, whenever the money is tight, technology is going to be what takes the hit. You’ll just make due. We had reached to the point where we felt like we were putting rubber bands and bubble gum on our machines to hold them together," Short said. "To all of a sudden have this influx of technology from Samsung, of cutting edge stuff, it is incredible for us."
Like Maryhurst, Slyn said he is thankful for Samsung’s partnership and the Hope for Children program. He also said he plans to continue his Christmas day tradition at the foster care home for years to come.
"As long as it’s done, I plan to be there," he said.