Charlotte Rescue Mission’s internal tech team reached out to Apparo for training to improve their ability to collaborate in the cloud.
Charlotte Rescue Mission provides residential recovery programs that help men and women struggling with addiction achieve long-term sobriety. They knew they could work more efficiently towards fulfilling their mission if they used the cloud effectively.
Charlotte Rescue Mission IT leadership reached out to Apparo for training on SharePoint and Teams and were matched to volunteers from Hylaine and Duke Energy through Apparo’s TechShops program. This support was generously sponsored by Bank of America.
We checked in with Mark Thomasson, IT Assistant, Charlotte Rescue Mission to learn about the impact of their Teams Training.
“We’re much further ahead than I expected when we started the training. It was so logical and intuitive. Now that we understand Teams, we are very fond of it. It’s a powerful tool for our staff. We’ve set it up for them as their central, go-to location for all of the tools they need for their work and we continue to build it out. Apparo got the ball rolling for us, showing us the power of Teams, and now we continue to think of new applications,” shares Mark.
He continues, “Without Apparo, we would have tried to learn Teams through youtube videos. It would have been a much slower process and it would have left gaps in our knowledge. Because of the training we received, we’re going to retain the knowledge and it’s also well documented through the recordings. They are like a library that we’ll always have for reference.”
He highlights some of the benefits:
- Teams as centralized hub improves staff efficiency, as they no longer need to go to multiple places to get their work done, freeing time to focus on mission-centric, client service work.
- Teams as cloud-based application eliminates version control issues that were a problem in the past, especially with their calendar system.
- The IT team now has more time to focus on bigger issues and optimization of efficiencies that will help push their mission forward.
This TechShop series relied on the generously of Hylaine and Duke Energy volunteer who shared their perspective on their positive experience.
Craig Pilkenton, Architect at Hylaine and volunteer trainer for Charlotte Rescue Mission shares, “I have always enjoyed helping and teaching people, getting them to that aha, light bulb moment, when they realize they can do it themselves. I’ve also learned that success in my line of work requires a lot of practice, like public speaking. Volunteering and teaching others expands your skills and is a great way to get practice to help you improve at work.”
“I chose to volunteer on this project because I know that a niche skill set was needed to support Charlotte Rescue Mission in their adoption of Teams. There aren’t a lot of people around who could effectively help them and it feels very good to know that my support was meaningful to them. Also, by supporting Apparo, I know that in essence I’m helping not only Charlotte Rescue Mission, but also other nonprofits that are important to me.” To others considering volunteering with Apparo, Craig adds, “The team at Apparo will back you up and give you all of the support you need, keeping you on task and on time.”
Sherry Evans, Information Technology Architect at Duke Energy and volunteer trainer for Charlotte Rescue Mission explains, “I was drawn by the opportunity to use my corporate skills to directly impact the community. I have an altruistic bent and while we help people with our work at Duke Energy, my IT role is several degrees removed from that. With this volunteer role, I got to not only do something really different, but also feel a direct connection to positive impact.”
She shares that her favorite part of the experience was seeing the tension visibly ease among Mark and his team. “It was when they realized that they get this, they are confident they can manage it on their own and know that it’s going to have a positive impact. We got them where they needed to be.”
To someone considering volunteering with Apparo, Sherry says, “I would highly recommend it. 10 out of 10! Apparo does so much legwork up front to ensure that you’re set up for a successful project, with a manageable scope. You know what you’re walking into and they facilitate it to ensure it stays on scope. Apparo sets the limits and does a great job facilitating to keep us on task.”
Jennifer Ray, Apparo’s Program Manager, shares her appreciation of Craig and Sherry:
“Craig’s manner and methods were fundamental to Charlotte Rescue Mission’s success with Teams. His approach and willingness to meet them where they were, really allowed them learn effectively. We are eternally grateful for that.”
“Sherry was able meet the needs of a nonprofit where they were, in a non-threatening way. She has a finely tuned antenna and is able to make quick course corrections as needed. Charlotte Rescue Mission now feels that this is doable for them and that’s the gold standard of training. We are so appreciative of you, Sherry, and of your Duke Energy teammates.”