2020: Apart Together
January 15, 2021 / by The "I Love U Guys" Foundation
It may be hard, for some of us nearly impossible. But in order to move forward, sometimes we have to find successes and improvements during difficult times.
Despite everything that 2020 presented, there are some places in the school safety community where we see hope.
Our collective transformation into digital spaces accelerated, and we have new tools and techniques to add to our skill sets. We were reminded that safety includes healthy bodies, protected from viruses. Those viruses can bring our communities to their knees if we don’t have processes in place to react. And we put better processes in place in response, which will certainly make us healthier in general. We sharpened our improvisation and pivoting skills. And we learned about the power of our social wiring and how remaining connected is still a primal urge that must be satisfied.
We don’t believe in living in the past. Instead, we look back only to the extent that it inspires us. What we know about that practice is that it’s important to celebrate the little areas of progress in order to find the energy to keep moving forward. So here are a few 2020 measurements from our corner of the school safety world that demonstrate the vibrancy and dedication of our work together.
A Nod From Government
We kicked off the year with a recognition by the Colorado General Assembly by way of a joint resolution that gave “support [to] the mission of The “I Love U Guys” Foundation and the invaluable programs The Foundation works to implement to promote the advancement of school safety and to preserve the joy of youth.”
Make no mistake. This is your resolution, too. The resolution recognizes the “collaboration with experts in the fields of education, law enforcement, emergency response, and psychology [for] evidence-based real-world solutions that can be brought to the classroom to facilitate school and community safety and promote family reunification following a crisis.”
We’re but conduits for your work and your sacrifices. It was a wonderful reminder that the work we do impacts our broader communities, not just the places where we’re focused day-to-day. The signed bill can be viewed here on the Colorado state capitol website.
A Shift In Trainings
Before physical distancing, we were able to connect with hundreds of you in over 80 in-person trainings. This is our life-blood as an organization, and not just because it makes up the bulk of our revenue. It’s where we satisfy our social wiring, hear stories, adjust messages, and feel our mission in action.
When it became clear as a community and world that it’d be necessary to physically separate to help us through the pandemic, we did the hard work of collaborating with hundreds more of you, and canceled 60 in-person events.
Like you always do, you helped us forge ahead. We shifted gears quickly and launched virtual trainings and events. We built a modest studio, installed the software, procured the hardware, used a few guinea pigs for trials, and ended up holding 24 virtual trainings and one keynote address. Our work is only half the equation, and we want to thank you: Success in virtual trainings is only possible with intention and engagement on the part of the participants.
A New Place Online
In the midst of all of this, we somehow managed to launch a redesigned website. We think it’s easier to find the files that so many of you rely on, and hopefully a little easier for others to connect with our mission.
The new site also gives us better insight into our reach. Check out some of these numbers from August through today, a slice of connections we’re making together:
- Over 75,000 visitors came to our website since August.
- 31,000 of you were returning. Now that’s community!
- Over 1,200 of you contacted us through the site.
- Here are the top cities where you visited us from:
- San Antonio
- Des Moines
- New York
- You downloaded a whopping 30,000 PDF files, like the Operational Guidance, Posters, and Reunification kits.
- We published 15 blog posts.
- We sent over 45,000 emails, and you all open and read them at double the rate of other non-profits. You’re engaged!
- We also added over 950 new email subscribers to our list. The circle is wider!
- Across our social channels, we added over 3,500 new followers. We’re now connecting over 15,000 people on social media!
- We started nearly 300 conversations on social media, and you all engaged over 29,000 times.
A New Program
Early on in the pandemic, one thing became clear. When schools close, the need for meals does not. Hunger is always open for business, and countless families rely on school-supplied meals. But what does that mean when normal distribution is disrupted, and a nasty virus is spreading?
With the help of many community members (special hat tip to Pat Hamilton, Chief Operating Officer at Adams 12 Five Star Schools in Colorado), we developed and released a Beta version of the Standard Distribution Method (SDM): Operational guidance to help schools and districts safely share meals and learning materials within their communities. With your help, we’re still learning and improving the SDM, but it’s clear there’s a need.
Check out this video about the SDM:
Pat used the SDM to distribute 16,000 meals in just one week. We continue to refine the SDM BETA-2 into a complete first version as we round the corner into 2021.
Please contact us if you’re using the SDM: Your feedback will help us understand how to improve the protocol.
A New Reality
As the end of 2020 drew near, we facilitated a conversation with around a dozen school safety experts and friends to discuss virtual classroom safety. This is an entirely new area of concern for all of us, and we uncovered some important issues. The Foundation is working with our partners and friends to determine how best to assist in this emerging area of student safety. Stay tuned for more, and please reach out to us if you’re involved in virtual classroom safety or want to be. We’re collecting data and understanding the touchpoints.
A Final Kudos
The announcement of Murphy Robinson, currently on The “I Love U Guys” Foundation Board of Directors, as Deputy Mayor of Denver gave us all a final reason to celebrate as 2020 came to a close. Murphy is a long-time supporter of the The “I Love U Guys” Foundation, is a board member, and served as Denver’s Executive Director of the Department of Safety. Congratulations to Murphy, but congratulations to all of Denver who has gained a valuable ally for safety and just downright integrity.
Oh – and check out this video Murphy created for the SRP Municipalities!
Happy New Year, and Stay In Touch
We want to hear from you in 2021! How can we amplify, innovate, and improve the health and safety in our communities? How are you doing it? How can we help? Please connect with us.
As always, you all the experts, we are the conduits. Together we’re community, even if we’re apart.
Happy New Year!
Written by The "I Love U Guys" Foundation