This December, the First Annual “Techie Toy Drive” kicked off in San Diego, at Vintana, atop the Center of Lexus Escondido. The event was the brain child of Effortless, a national business technology and network security firm, with the support of the IAMCP’s Women in Technology community and Women in the Channel.
Guests enjoyed a delicious lunch, a raffle for a free premium automotive detail donated by Lexus, but most importantly guests brought technology toys with a STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering and Math) focus to donate to foster and adoptive children in the region through a nonprofit known as Straight From The Heart.
Among the donated techie toys were a bright pink LeapFrog Laptop, an Amazon Kindle, and a HexBug vex Robotic Catapult… you know, great toys for boys and GIRLS!
“We don’t get a lot of techie toys,” said Patricia Boyles, founder of Straight From The Heart, the nonprofit thrift store and foster family resource center in Southern California.
“We have what we call the ‘Kids Pack Room’ and anything new that is donated goes in that room for the kids, including formula, backpacks, clothes and school supplies,” Boyles said. “These toys are going to be a huge hit for the holidays, and we are going to make sure the foster and adoptive parents know that they are great gifts for the girls, as well as the boys.”
Girls’ interest in technology starts at an early age. According to a 2015 Girl Scouts report, 68% of teen girls interested in STEM say their dads play a key part in encouraging them.
Effortless founder, Benjamin Gayheart, plays the role of encouraging father to his two girls. “As parents, we are the first role models our kids have. Our little girls are absorbing messages from us all the time. So if we tell them ‘You can do it!’, and we really believe they can, then they start to believe in themselves. For me I know my daughters are brilliant, and they can do anything they put their minds to, so I tell them that! Connecting with our daughters at that level at a young age is so important.”
Effortless plans to expand the Techie Toy Drive next year. Sonya Meline, VP of Sales and Marketing at Effortless, board member for Women in Technology, and committee member for Women in the Channel, is the event’s main organizer. She hopes to find other sponsors and locations around the US next year who would be willing to partner with Effortless and host the toy drive.
“I learned about the foster and adoptive system first hand over the last few years when my husband and I opened our hearts to adopting our first child,” Meline said. “When we le arned about what Patty and Martha do at Straight From The Heart, we wanted to get on board… and giving these kids a boost with techie toys just seemed like such a great idea! The industry is growing like crazy, and introducing girls to the benefits of this profession in a fun and exciting way could make a big difference.”
Parents and others interested in a list of Effortless-recommended techie toys can check out the page here. And learn more about toys such as the ReCon Robot, which will costs nearly $80, or the Hydraulic Edge Arm Kit, which is just under $50.
“When I saw people walking in with their arms loaded with these really cool toys, I almost lost it,” said Meline. “I knew even though this started small, it is the start of something much bigger.”
Effortless is an innovative Cloud and Security Provider, which migrates entire business infrastructures into the cloud. Effortless customers are businesses around the world that increase efficiency and save money by utilizing the solutions tailored to their business needs. Effortless brings customers into the cloud with a customized Flightplan. They start with an IT audit; then, a private cloud is built using ClearSky Environment Technology. When the cloud has been tested and approved, Effortless migrates clients’ desktops, servers, applications, and the entire business network into the Effortless Cloud. Clients and their staff access this via high-level encryption from almost any Internet-enabled device. Effortless’ pay-as-you-go model provides a virtual desktop solution, which includes advanced security that goes beyond web/spam filtering, antivirus, and firewall to include signature, anomaly, and heuristic based detections. Plus, they include back-up and disaster recovery services (full redundancy and offsite servers), USA-based tech support, and much more. The company is SSAE 16 Certified and headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, with additional offices and representation around the United States.