DreamFactory superuser, Crystal Taggart recently completed a Digital Transformation for MIKID - Mentally Ill Kids In Distress. A non profit that improves the behavioral health and wellness of children and youth through a family- centered approach. The idea was to bring this financial and resource constrained non profit into the modern tech age. With an old and broken website, and inefficient processes, Crystal from Build My App and three other companies came together to give them a digital transformation.
Crystals company Build My App, a hybrid eLearning and Consulting bootcamp that shows anyone how to build an app very cheaply, delivered a new app using DreamFactory and Ionic. Yoloteck provided web development, marketing and digital services. GreenDot Creative a donor database using Microsoft Dynamics. Collins Digital Media provided digital marketing and social media training. Microsoft donated the event space for this Digital Transformation event at their store in Phoenix, as well as thousands of dollars worth of Software to MIKID. It was truly a community effort! This digital transformation increased MIKID’s online presence, solved many day-to-day concerns, opened up opportunities and gave them the resources to grow.
"It's exciting to be able to help our community and at the same time show how easy it is for anyone to implement technology. It's amazing in this day and age what can be accomplished with technologies that are available to everyone."
MIKID has been a local Arizona resource for over 29 years serving thousands of families and children with emotional and behavioral challenges. Children with mental disabilities often need to go through an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) process to get additional school and state support. MIKID gets involved in this process. They also help families with social care situations, so if a child is taken away from a parent, MIKID guides the parents through the court system, as well as the child's potential new situation with a relative or foster family. They are focused on kids from five years old to young adults. They have high school and young adult Leadership camps, group counseling and dozens of other community services.
Before, no one internally at MIKID really knew or understood technology or the tools available to them. This was a great opportunity to educate and empower them, remove technological barriers and show them that:
“Technologies today are easy, if you choose the right ones.”
This is where DreamFactory came into play, and the premise Crystal has built around her Build My App company off of: that there are great resources and technologies available today, if you choose the right ones for the job. They never thought an app would be accessible to them, until Crystal showed them her toolbox of accessible, affordable and powerful tools: DreamFactory and Ionic.
MIKID wanted a tool to help parents be able to better monitor their children's behavior, so Crystal built an app to solve the major pain point that: MIKID asks parents to journal and they never remember to do so. So this App is now used as an easy journal for parents and guardians to be able to track their kids behavior and within 2 clicks, they can monitor their child’s behavior over periods of time.
MIKID is also interested in accessing this historical information and data on how the child’s behavior changes over time, from the beginning of their relationship with the child and guardian, to the end of the relationship. So, as the child grows older, or at some point if behavior issue stops happening, MIKID then aligns that data with their services to clearly see see how behaviors change through their organization and support over time. They hope to look back and discover a child who went from Reds in certain areas to consistent Greens.
Crystal built the app to store four categories of information:
- School - How they behaved at school.
- Community - How they behaved in the Community, and if they were an active part of their Community.
- Chores - If and when they completed Chores.
- Home - How they behaved at Home.
Right now the application is very simple, and secure and only built for the parents or guardians. Security was top of mind for Crystal and MIKID as they created this app. The data is stored in a MySQL database to the default MySQL hosted by DreamFactory. Crystal has not built out an admin panel because of the challenge of privacy. MIKID can’t see the information, but they can report on it. Crystal also took a few other security precautions with DreamFactory such as not storing most personal information, and only first name of the child. This way they can ensure that their information isn't getting compromised. She also leveraged the security within DreamFactory APIs to filter out the User ID, so that the specific user only has permissions to see the data they created. The User Credentials used are through email.
The security setup in DreamFactory.
Another common complaint that Crystal addressed with the app was that the parents needed more information and history around the behavior of their children to track. For example, when they meet with their counselor, sometimes it’s hard to recall the day-today behavior of the child in between sessions. So Crystal built behavior trackers where the parent can add the child/ren and it shows a weekly view of their behavior. She gave a Red, Yellow, and Green starring and ranking system. She also added functionality to add and store notes related to that behavior so the parent can document the issues or progress from that day.
Crystal used Ionic Creator, a drag and drop mobile app builder, to help build the look and feel of the app as well as the usability testing and UI mockup. Even though Ionic offers Cloud Service solutions out of the box, Crystal chose to use DreamFactory because of the ability to control her own cloud hosting. She is able to move in between environments easily, as well as get control and security features with DreamFactory that you wouldn't get with another type of provider.
All this was done with DreamFactory’s Free Open Source version installed from Bitnami, onto $50 worth of hosting fees from Amazon Web Services, a low monthly Ionic Framework cost, and a $60 SSL Certificate. Just under $200 and 24 hours later, a priceless new tool for positive social change was born that really showcases the power of deploying low cost solutions. This MIKID app is currently available on IPhone and Android, and you can view more on our Community ShowCase Page.
MIKID gets their funding from a variety of sources such as volunteers, fundraising and donations. They get State funding as a result of their great success as being a community connector. They connect people in the Arizona community with the right resources to help them. Learn more about all of the great work that they do here.
Crystal is currently planning to do a similar Digital Transformation nonprofit launch with DreamFactory in the future. Stay tuned!
Check out the MIKID App on our Community Showcase Page!