Dallas Afterschool informs, trains, supports and evaluates afterschool sites that serve low-income youth in the Dallas area. Their goal is to help local afterschool sites achieve national quality standards for the benefit of the children they serve. The Challenge Dallas Afterschool was working hard to ensure and improve the quality of all after school programs being delivered in the Dallas area. Programs were improving all around but they realized they needed a way to deliver quality after school program information to parents in their community. The community lacked a resource that was both user friendly and would enable parents to find accessible after school programming that met their needs.
They wanted to leverage their existing investment in Salesforce.com where they had critical information that could be made useful to a parent in their quest to find child care. In addition, they desired a way to capture additional community related information on afterschool and summer programs for hundreds of providers that weren’t a part of their programs. Our SolutionBuild an Interactive Site Based on After-School Program Data Already Existing in Salesforce Dallas Afterschool evaluated a number of web based solutions, but chose the Force.com cloud platform for its flexibility and extensibility. We built a mobile ready Force.com site using VisualForce that is able to pull data from Dallas Afterschool’s Salesforce instance in real time. Parents can now access a public website (After-School Program Finder) where they can search by program type, zip code, grade level and time. Search results contain basic information that is maintained by Dallas Afterschool and help parents make more informed decisions to enrich their students’ lives. Integrate a Geolocation Component for the Application During the discovery phase, it was made clear that location was a critical factor for parents when evaluating different afterschool programs.
To address this issue, we wanted to provide a clear visual of where afterschool programs are located in the Dallas area. We integrated a third-party app with Salesforce and Google Maps to embed a map showing each program location that is also available on the program finder website. Now, not only can parents conduct a search using zip codes, but they can also move and click around on the map to find different offerings. Results Parents in the Dallas area now have an easy-to-use, mobile ready site that provides up to date, searchable information on quality afterschool programs in their area. As Dallas Afterschool’s CEO says, “The terrific thing about it is that it’s easy to use and we can track experiences via google analytics.” In addition to being a useful resources for parents, the locator tool also provided an important visual for Dallas Afterschool’s CEO: “The locator tool has allowed us to identify gaps in childcare resources in our community quickly and effectively.
We can link it to a geocode system and graphically show people where there are program desserts for after school and where there is capacity. This gives us a way to communicate with programs throughout the county and it opens up an ability to talk about what kind of assets our community has. Armed with this information, we are equipped to increase quality afterschool seats in areas where families and children need them the most.”