Nonprofit: Caterpillar Ministries
Apparo Program: Community Impact Projects
Interview with: Anne Crawford, Founder and Sarah Fortner, Executive Director
How does Caterpillar Ministries impact the community?
Caterpillar impacts the Huntington Green community by doing life with our neighbors. We are in this life together. We want our families to know that when no one else sees them or listens to them or believes in them that we will.
Tell us one of your best experiences at Caterpillar Ministries.
Another one of my favorites involves Tonja - one of our grandmothers here - one of the first people I met when I came on staff. I asked her what she wanted to learn or do as one of our adults. She said I don't know how to read or write. My grandkids bring home things to read and give books to me to read and I make things up because I don't know how to read. We started GED classes. Tonja was reading at a below kindergarten level. She is now at a 4th grade level and can read what her grandkids bring home!!
What were some of the challenges Caterpillar Ministries faced before working with Apparo?
Our challenges were the programming side of Caterpillar was thriving and growing but the business side wasn't keeping up with the growth. We were challenged in that we added more staff very quickly, more kids and families to our programs, more volunteers but the systems and processes were behind. We weren't being as efficient and effective as we could be due to a lack of technology. We were basically paper-driven in our business approach.
How is Apparo helping you overcome that challenge?
Apparo partnered us with a volunteer, Aaron Higley, who developed a short-term and long-term technology plan for Caterpillar.
Where would Caterpillar Ministries be if you had not worked with Apparo?
Where would we be if Apparo hadn't come along ... still scratching our heads trying to figure out what to do next ... and how to do it. Apparo has helped us realize that just because you are technologically challenged, doesn't mean you can't do something - there is training available. Don't use your deficiencies as excuses not to better yourself or your organization. The exercises were eye-opening for us. Made us immediately think about different ways to implement some small changes immediately that will make big differences.