Parent consultant uses Facebook to offer CRS families more convenient meeting options

Life, especially for parents, can become very hectic.

For this reason, Jessica Havard, a parent consultant in the Children’s Rehabilitation Service office in Mobile, has explored new avenues through Facebook to make Parent Advisory Committee meetings more convenient.

FB Live logo: Blue Facebook "f" with "Live" written alongside in red. “I realized a lot of people my age are using technology, and often they are on their phone anyway,” she said. “I thought that putting our advisory group on Facebook would give our parents a better way to communicate with each other.”

During a recent meeting, Havard invited a representative of the Parent Education Center to attend and added a Facebook Live broadcast to the mix through a closed group. Sign language and Spanish interpreters were invited as well.

The physical attendance was great, Havard said, but she was especially impressed by the number of people who tuned in through the social networking site.

“We had a good turnout in person, but on Facebook you can see how many people actually viewed it,” she said. “That was the highest attendance we’ve ever had for one of our PAC meetings.”

The interaction between viewers and the speaker left Havard even more excited about the idea.

“What was really cool about it was we had viewers at home who had questions for our speaker,” she said. “I was monitoring the questions, and when it was time I would ask them, and she could answer it directly as if they were in the room.”

The large viewership and positive feedback she received from parents inspired Havard to offer Facebook Live attendance for their Sept. 4 meeting.

The use of Facebook Live was inspired by “PAC in your PJs,” a series of live open chats for CRS families. While “PAC in Your PJs” is not broadcast using Facebook Live, Havard said it does allow her to see how many people are participating. She said she hopes to encourage parents to interact with each other more.

The Facebook Live option will not replace in-person meetings, Havard said.

“I do encourage our parents to come,” she said, “I just want them to have that other option.”





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