Today we talk with Tanya K. a super member of the Jooners community. Her comment about kids growing up too fast, hit home with all of us moms here at Jooners. Enjoy her wisdom!
Jooners: Hi Tanya….Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Tanya: I am a work from home mom with two boys, ages 9 and 11. Like most kids their age, they are involved with soccer, church, basketball, Adventure Guides and Future Problem Solvers. We live in San Clemente, California but my kids attend a private school in Laguna Niguel, about 22 minutes away. Accordingly every time I can communicate or collaborate with someone at school in a way that avoids a round-trip, it is a blessing to me. I tend to be a fairly active parent in all of my kids’ activities. Off the top of my head … I have coordinated 6 book fairs, been a team parent more times than I can count, a room parent six times, teach at Sunday school and volunteer to provide technology help for all of the major school fundraisers
Jooners: How did you first hear about Jooners?
Tanya: Four years ago I was a room mom for my second grader. Half-way through the year I became convinced that there had to be a better way for parents to sign up to help out in the classroom than the “reply all” method we were using on a monthly basis. Despite the email box explosive “reply all” method that especially irritated many working parents, many shifts would have double volunteers and others would remain unfilled. Initially I wanted to create my own on-line service just for our classroom so I called a company to see if I could rent some space on their server. As the customer service agent was typing in my order, she innocently asked me why I was renting the space. I explained to her my intention and she said “Oh no. You have to use Jooners!” As she described the service to me, I quickly cancelled my order and searched for Jooners on the Internet. The rest is history.
Jooners: What do you use Jooners for?
Tanya: EVERYTHING! I just checked my account and have created and published 45 sign up sheets – monthly volunteers, snack schedules, book fairs, meal preparations for families in need. I have also responded to countless sign up sheets used by the 20 plus other parents at our school. It is the organizing tool of choice at our school.
Jooners: Has using Jooners made your life easier? If so, how?
Tanya: By all means, it has cut down the time I spend each month as a Room Parent by 50% or more. I just set up the monthly sheet at the start of the year (15 minutes) and copy it every subsequent month (5 minutes.) The automated reminders are fantastic and help people remember what they signed up for weeks before so you get fewer people not showing up.
Jooners: What are the three most important things you have learned in your volunteering efforts?
Tanya: Your kids grow up way too fast. Spend time with them instead of the computer and you will be blessed. 2) Assume that at some point in your venture someone will be upset or offended by something you do as an organizer. 95% of the time it is a reflection on the other person so just shrug it off. Apologize sincerely the other 5% of the time. 3) Don’t sign up for things if your heart isn’t in it. “God loves a cheerful giver.” You don’t get credit in your after life for the other stuff.
Jooners: What advice do you have for those new to organizing?
Tanya: Be sure to explore the sign up sheet templates. They can save you quite a bit of time and effort. Also, don’t feel the need to fill in every unmet need. You are already giving of your time and talents. If for some reason there is a party with red jello cups, but not green ones – life will go on!