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Although it seems like everyone has a phone or access to one, that’s not the case. In 1994, Twin Cities Community Voice Mail was founded so that people in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and beyond could have free access to voice mail that would lead to increased self-sufficiency.
Today, under the new name of Open Access Connections, we have expanded beyond the Twin Cities to serve all Minnesota and our focus has expanded beyond simply voice mail. Our commitment to and involvement with empowering participants has grown. More than ever, we are a partner who helps participants create a future through self-determination. Our use of communications and technology connects participants to the larger community, acts as a catalyst for bringing them into the mainstream, and focuses their power and strength as tools for social
Open Access Connections develops strong community connections to deliver communication services and civic engagement in order to encourage self-determination for people in need.
We are the leader in finding innovative ways to use communications technologies to provide opportunities for people in need to forge new connections to the community and to one another. These connections enhance dignity and independence and contribute to success.
Open Access Connections values:
- Our Participants
- Our Community Partners
- The active involvement of participants and partners
- Connecting to the community
- Innovative use of communications technology
- Providing services at low cost
- Quality service
- Cost effectiveness
In 1994, when a planning group began discussions of the possibility of a network of voice mail numbers for people who are poor and homeless, their initial expectations were very modest: “Should we start with just Minneapolis, or could we do Minneapolis and St. Paul? Could we get as many as 30 agencies to participate?”
In the 15 years since those first planning meetings, Twin Cities Community Voice Mail has grown to become Open Access Connections, a national leader in connecting people who do not have phones with the communities to which they belong through the seemingly simple technology of voice mail boxes.
Today 350 agencies across the entire state of Minnesota partner with Open Access Connections to allow nearly 5,000 individuals and families each year to have a safe and secure place to receive messages from employers, landlords, children’s schools, doctors, social service providers, family members and friends.