Our approach to driving engagement is based on the desire of volunteers to do good. By connecting volunteers that want to encourage and spar people in need of help we can create true human connections that build on the success of both the buddy (the mentor) and the pal (mentee).
What it does
We developed a mobile application that minimizes the obstacles of registering and staying engaged. The same application works for buddies and pals. Logging in happens with simple face recognition. Buddies can see the recent progress of their pals and get notified of any successes like a completed training period, a visit to a goodwill office or a new job. Pals are able browse any relevant opportunities or services they might be interested in. Also the app enables communication between the buddy and the pal via push notifications.
How we built it
Cognito gives out basic access credentials to get access to rekognition, lex and s3 for the authentication flow. Profile data is stored in dynamodb and access to that data is protected with a lambda function that requires a valid face id from rekognition to access the user's data. The app is implemented as a cross-platform react-native application
The whole setup is contained in CloudFormation stacks that set up practically all of the required infrastructure - excluding the infrastructure that is not available for CloudFormation like Rekognition face collections.
We implemented some parts of the flow we designed as proof of concepts. Namely face recognition login, and adding a pal with minimal information creating the pal profile in the process.
Challenges we ran into
Integrating the mobile app with the various Amazon services contains numerous tricky details that take time to work through.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Team worked hard through the challenges and tackled most of them with style.
What we learned
Iterating and validating the concept is really valuable. Developing react native with a slow local network is really frustratingly slow.
What's next for Goodwill Buddy
Implementing the whole range of functionality beyond the dome scenario does require a significant amount of work.