Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 1997
Red Solidaria


This profile was prepared when Juan Carr was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1997.
The New Idea
Juan Carr has created the Solidarity Network, a new spin-off of the traditional telephone hotline. Whereas traditional hotlines tend to provide counsel or services around specific issues, Juan's hotline acts as a bridge between those who need any type of help and others who are equipped to provide it. Armed with a cadre of over 100 volunteers who work three-hour shifts, the Network takes on the entire gamut of social problems as they arise, ranging from domestic violence to cancer treatment to flood assistance. After listening to the caller and assessing his or her needs, the Network volunteer links the caller with the appropriate agency or organization that can help.

For instance, when a mother calls and needs medicine for her sick baby, the Network volunteer calls up the local hospital or clinic and has them send the medicine immediately and directly to the mother. When a homeless shelter calls asking for extra blankets and food, the Network sends out the request through the newspaper, radio, and television, and the response is enormous. This "hands-off" approach to solving social problems allows the Network not only to maximize their number of cases, but also to tap into the vast and often unused reserves of human compassion, and create opportunities for direct encounters between strangers who would not otherwise have become involved in each other's lives.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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