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When people fall between the cracks

Meredith Mahon Morris August 29, 2012

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I always appreciate the opportunity to meet with our clients. At our annual Ideas to Impact Conference earlier this year, I met a PDS client named Diane Geschwind, who works for St. Christopher’s Parish in Baldwin, N.Y. Diane talked to me about why she works for the church. To her, it boiled down to connecting with people. That’s what the church is about.

I’m not afraid to admit it: When Diane and I were talking, and she talked about how her church cares for shut-ins, she and I were both moved to the point that we teared up. That’s powerful stuff.

I knew that when I returned to the office, I wanted to follow up with Diane and hear more about what they do at St. Christopher’s Parish. Below is just part of what I learned:

Tending Your Flock

Before getting PDS, the staff at St. Christopher Parish was making do. But they weren’t what you’d call efficient. One example? Their annual volunteer appreciation party.

The annual St. Christopher’s Parish volunteer appreciation party brings together volunteers from the more than 30 different ministries at the parish from choir to St. Vincent de Paul. The annual event includes hundreds of volunteers, music, food, and fellowship, said Diane Geschwind, who has been with the parish for 22 years and now serves as an administrative assistant, handling “whatever needs to be done.”

“Before PDS, each ministry would handle their own invitations to the volunteer appreciation party,” Diane explained. “But there are duplicate ministers, or there would be missing information somewhere. So one volunteer would get nothing, while one minister would get three letters.” It was an organizational nightmare – but not anymore. “Now, with PDS, that doesn’t happen.”

It sounds like a small detail in the grand scheme of things. An invitation to one party. But to that individual volunteer who wasn’t invited to the party, is it really a small detail? Diane doesn’t think so.

“They didn’t understand why the letter didn’t come – and rightly so. When those connections fall between the cracks, that is not right. It’s important to people to know that they’re important to you. It’s just vital.”

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