Open Doors: Defining Moments

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Posted By on April 2, 2020

These times will change everything

The first week of March was my last glimpse of “normal.” I attended several nonprofit fundraisers and planning meetings. My kids went to school for 3rd and 8th grade each day. We ate out, took the kids to tutoring and their elective activities. Then the news started to creep in, and a new reality took hold on March 17: canceled, postponed, closed.

It’s two weeks later, and what is emerging as the one thing we all need to keep doing what we can? Technology. School, work, food, friends and family — everyone with access to a phone, computer or i-anything is making it happen.

We’ve been on a homeschool schedule since March 16 and, thankfully, our teachers use computers and apps regularly as teaching tools. The first bell at our house rings at 8 a.m. (via iPhone) and on the hour, each hour till 3 p.m. to follow the Evans Homeschool Schedule. Subjects switch each hour after a 10-minute break for a snack or a breath of fresh air. So far, each child has had a class Zoom call so they can see each other, and I’m on a 3rd-grade mom group chat with 16 other moms to support each other as we navigate the process.

But I know it’s not been very smooth for so many others. One of my closest childhood friends is a 2nd-grade teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District, and all of these tech communication tools are new to her. She’s taught for 26 years and never had the need to “Zoom” until last week. I am willing to bet there’s no going back now that she will be using it to participate in district and school meetings for the foreseeable future.

I’m also seeing my friends and colleagues in the nonprofit and health sectors switch over to everything tech has to offer. With the in-person coffee or lunch on hold, savvy executive directors and development teams are calling or Facetime-ing with their top supporters, staff and, well, everyone. I have a few doctors’ appointments coming up, and several have already reached out to schedule a telemedicine appointment instead of the in-person check-up. They’ve had the technology sitting there, but now they are actually using it, because they have to. It’s the safe thing to do and it works really well.

As a resident of one of Phoenix’s historic districts, our collective neighborhood feels it’s important to support local restaurants. And we really upped our Uber Eats and DoorDash use last fall as our 14 year old developed an expansive palate. (While I like to cook, our schedules are beyond crazy most evenings.) So I am thrilled that it was easy for our local restaurant industry to ramp up their take-out offerings before COVID-19 hit, and I hope that the take-out orders will keep everyone in business as long as it takes. I personally pledge to keep the Postino’s Uptown location going! 

Then there’s our circle of friends. I have always welcomed a break from charity events, group dinners and parties each July, but this abrupt halt to what would have been at least 50 nights out before summer break was a shock to the system. This past weekend, we started having 6 p.m. virtual happy hours from our front porch or kitchen bar. We began with Facetime, but then I learned about the Houseparty app. It’s a multiscreen format like Zoom but much easier to use, sign in, etc. Plus, they have games you can play while you’re waiting for everyone to join or just to have some fun while seeing friends and family face-to-face.

The point? Technology is having its day! And you don’t need to be an expert to use it. Those who were timid before are all in now, and the best applications are rising to the top. Business models will be changed forever and Sunday dinners with grandparents can continue in this new way. I’m liking it!

Together. From home. We can do this.

Andrea Tyler Evans

About Andrea Tyler Evans

Andrea Tyler Evans is the Publisher of Frontdoors Media. She can be reached at publisher@frontdoorsmedia.com.