While there are other charities that give tablets to children with cancer, Hopecam is unique in being the only organization that takes the extra step to use the technology to actually link the children to the lives they had before their diagnosis.
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Once Hopecam receives an application from a family, it is assigned within 48 hours to a Program Coordinator. The Program Coordinator contacts the family by phone and/or e-mail to obtain any additional information we may need.
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Once contact with the family has occurred, the Program Coordinator will start to work with the school to secure their participation. From experience with our current client base, about 85% of the schools are eager to connect with the child. In working with the schools, we draw upon our experience about what connection schedules and models work best for different ages and grades. If we encounter resistance, Hopecam knows how to cut through bureaucratic objections and provide information about the benefits of connecting that assuage educators’ fears. We provide template permission letters so classmates’ parent can approve their child’s participation.
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Simultaneous with starting to work with the school, a tablet is prepped for shipment to the child. The tablet is set-up, and a video conferencing account is created and downloaded so everything is ready once the school connection has been established. We understand the stress of families when a child has cancer, so we make sure that the tablet computer is ready to use and does not need any set-up. About 50% of the children currently being referred come from families where English is not the spoken language; at least 20% of our children live in homes without Internet access and limited knowledge of technology.
If the family does not have an Internet connection, Hopecam will provide and pay for it for a period of 6 to 12 months while the child is in treatment (longer if necessary).
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Hopecam stays in contact with the family and remains a resource to troubleshoot connection problems throughout the period the child cannot attend school. Once the child has completed treatment and is back at school, our formal support ends. The child gets to keep his or her computer or tablet. The schools also keep their webcams and other hardware.