To see the stories from the runners up click here.
Imagine being woken up in the middle of the night in a foreign country only to hear yourself speaking on the other end of the phone line. It might be a little unsettling to say the least. Perhaps it's the opening scene of a new science fiction/thriller set years in the future, or perhaps it's closer to 2011 and it's the SchoolReach reminder you scheduled days ago back in the United States. Read the story below of one such SchoolReach user, St. Peter Kirkwood in Missouri, as told by Director of Elementary Faith Formation, Jan Hartmann.
"I could not imagine who was calling me on my cell phone at 2:00 AM in Sorrento, Italy! I was one week into the 12 day pilgrimage with about 40 parishioners from the suburban St. Louis parish where I serve as Director of Faith Formation. When I noticed that it was my own office number calling, I was frantically trying to figure out what time it was back home and what could have happened that I was getting a phone call in a foreign country.
Upon answering I was astonished to hear my own voice! Astonished, that is, until my memory jumpstarted and I remembered that I had programmed a SchoolReach reminder for that Sunday November 14th for the 250 families in the evening religion program for children in public schools, AND my own personal cell phone number. "Good evening, this is Jan Hartmann from St. Peter PSR with a reminder that calendar surveys are due tomorrow November 15th. Please do not pass up this opportunity to give the committee your input. Thank you!" The next day, November 15th, was the last day for parents to return a survey about the day of the week the program would move to for the upcoming school year. The parent committee had determined that they would receive and tabulate the surveys while I was on the pilgrimage-Transparency 101 at work!
I wear many "hats" in parish ministry, and it was no easy task to prepare for being out of the country for 12 days, especially with the important process of revising the calendar underway for the elementary evening religion program. SchoolReach played an important role in the success of that process, by allowing me to pre-record a very important message and set up the launch of that message in advance for the Sunday evening before the survey deadline. A SchoolReach message several days before I left for Italy had notified parents that the survey would arrive in the mail the next day and the procedure for turning in their surveys to the parent committee. Ultimately the return rate on the parent surveys was over 70%, and I credit the SchoolReach reminders with facilitating such a tremendous response. Wow! I could be out of the country, and my families could hear my voice reminding them that their opinion mattered and would be counted. Collaboration 101 at work!
Today, I am reminded of the important place of SchoolReach in administering our religious education program. We moved to a new day, added a second session, and I am reveling in the flexibility SchoolReach offers. I can "SchoolReach" all the families, or just the families of the early session or just the later session. In St. Louis, weather conditions can be very different at 4:00 PM and 7:00 PM on the very same day! Upon upgrading to SchoolReach 3.0 this year, the webinar training I received demonstrated exciting new ways to use SchoolReach for the essential task of keeping everyone in the loop-whether it is a phone reminder, a text message or an e-mail blast. Communication 101 at work!
Thank you, School Reach, for waking me up in Sorrento, Italy! We all need a "wake up call" every now and then to appreciate things that really work. Appreciation 101 at work!"
Director of Elementary Faith Formation
St. Peter Kirkwood