We had the good fortune of connecting with Armando Cantu and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Armando, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I was volunteering to support the homeless community and I observed that within the homeless and returning citizens communities that many individuals didn’t yet have access to email accounts, cell phones or the internet. I intuitively felt that this blocked their access to mobility, and more importantly, sustainability and self-sufficiency. Later, looking at hard data and research, this confirmed my observations. The technology piece was something that needed to be tackled, which led to the formation of CARDBoard Project. Our mission is to connect the digitally disconnected to opportunities, services and access to self-sufficiency. Our non-profit leverages technology to connect people with training, housing, health and wellness; and transportation services to support sustainability and self-sufficiency.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Our success stories help keep us motivated, energized and inspired. A recent success story is Eddie who was referred to the CARDBoard Project by the Dallas Downtown Inc (DDI). DDI reached out to Eddie on the streets of Dallas and connected him to CARDBoard Project, where he was then referred to Pioneer Balloon and hired two days later. We are proud of Eddie for following through. His job is only 15 minutes away from the Bridge Shelter, where he is staying and the bus drops him right in front of his job. We reached out to Pioneer Balloon HR Representative, Carmen for offering our Guest an opportunity with their organization. Carmen thanked us! She expressed how very pleased she was with Eddie’s work ethics. Carmen said he comes in early and stays late when asked. They will be training him soon on how to operate a forklift. He is earning an hourly wage, but once he obtains Forklift Operating Skills, he will be able to earn more.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would encourage city visitors to check out Clyde Warren Park and the Dallas Arboretum. Oak Lawn, a LGBT-friendly neighborhood and the Bishop Arts District, home to many independently-owned businesses, are also worth mentioning. The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, which is a monument to late President John F. Kennedy is an enduring piece of U.S. history.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d first mention Pastor Simmons (Cornerstone Baptist Church), Dr. Froswa Booker-Drew (VP Community Affairs at State Fair of Texas), and Dr. Petra Weldes and Rev. Karen Fry (CSLDallas Leaders) – they’ve all provided mentorship and support from the very early days. State Fair of Texas is one of CardBoard Project’s first partners that made it possible for our non-profit to gain its current reach. Redemption Bridge offers second chance careers to reduce recidivism and support the job needs of thousands of Texans. If offenders become employed, they are 10 times less likely to be re-arrested. From there, CARDBoard Project grew to have over 90 local and national partners. Many of these partners address specific barriers our guests may have. Other partners help us reach more guests, or are part of a specific program for community needs. For instance, some of our current partners include: the State Fair of Texas, the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, Dallas Innovation Alliance, Power U Up, and City Square. For instance, the CARDBoard Project will be partnering with State Fair of Texas workers to build digital identities, acquire digital skills, and secure employment with the help of a grant from the National Fund for Workplace Solutions. Most of these State Fair of Texas workers live in historically underserved, geographically isolated neighborhoods of South Dallas that also have a high percentage of households without broadband subscriptions. These workers depend on the State of Fair of Texas each year as a major source of income.

Website: http://cardboardproject.org

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/cardboard-project

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thecardboardproject.tx/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjJrg4jVxeAxcpgd94xvbrQ

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