e-Buddies in Action!
This is a new segment of the e-Beat! Each month we will highlight a school or agency involved in e-Buddies. Our hope is that this will be an opportunity to share some of the challenges and triumphs encountered through group participation in e-Buddies!
This month, we spoke with Brian Snyder from Arc of Carroll County in Maryland!
How long has your group been involved in e-Buddies?
Our e-Buddies group has been active since March, 2006.
How many members are currently matched with e-Buddies?
In the beginning we only wanted two to enroll, but we've had so much success with e-Buddies that we currently have six enrolled.
What are some key challenges you have faced and overcome?
Occasionally we have problems with the matches not responding for periods of time, but everything always seems to work out in the end. Sometimes the matches get too busy to reply, but it actually teaches our individuals a good lesson -- not everyone has enough time to check (and reply to) their e-mail every day! At first we also had some problems with our individuals not sending a minimum of one e-mail per week, but most of them have really caught on at this point and enjoy checking and responding to their e-mails.
How do you make e-Buddies work with your group?
We have one staff person [that's me] who is responsible for checking the accounts of each of our individuals who is involved. Most of the time, the individuals are motivated enough to check their e-mail on a regular basis. If there are any problems however, the group administrator will talk to the individual to remind them to check their e-mail. The tools available on ebuddies.com for the group administrators are VERY helpful and make it very easy to get information on our users.
What have your group members gained by participating in e-Buddies?
Our group members have learned more about their e-mail software, and have gained confidence through positive interactions with new friends. In some cases, our users have become very interested about where the volunteers are from. Some of them have even looked on the Internet for more information about certain cities and countries. They have also gained a great sense of independence, since participation in e-Buddies is 100% their responsibility.
Do you work with a group of e-Buddies participants? We'd love to feature your group here! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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