304 days since my last blog post and so much has happened, yet so little has changed. It’s hard to believe that we’ve been living in a state of quarantine for nearly a year, but it’s true. As I prepare to receive my first shot of the vaccine that promises to take us into the next phase of the post-pandemic world, it seems appropriate to reflect on the past months before jumping ahead too quickly. (TL/DR we struggled, we survived, we thrived, we learned, and we grew.)
Feb 2020 - Our Beta Release
In the carefree days of February 2020, we were ready to start user testing our updated app with our newly added Groups feature to help people easily grow their network for sharing care. Little did we know, a few short weeks later the world would start shutting down and playdates would be the last thing on anyone’s mind as we all focused on survival and safety.
March 2020 - The Quarantine Begins
As days turned to weeks and then months, we looked for ways to support parents working at home with kids, kids trying to learn at home with parents, and people needing a break in general. A common theme emerged for many working parents, one of overwhelm, stress, and burnout.
April 2020 - Virtual Events
We added virtual events to allow brick and mortar small businesses offering kids activities in the community a way to give parents a break and connect with a wider community. We’ve had thousands of people attend and view our events since launching them in April.
August 2020 - Safety and Trust
Verified social profiles were a light touch approach for helping our community ensure people were being truthful in their descriptions. We will continue to balance and prioritize trust, privacy, and security by introducing features that allows our families to feel safe and secure when they are engaging on our platform, building their network, and inviting people they trust to join it.
Jan 2021 - Equity & Access
As we have seen the world evolve over the last year, we know that childcare is not only essential for our world to recover, but also we must develop options to support and uplift those who are underrepresented and underserved in their communities. We envision a future where childcare is equitable, accessible, and affordable to all who need it. We want to build a platform for everyone, but especially for the people who need it most and can share in its success.
Feb 2021 & Beyond - Looking Ahead
With almost 2000 people installing our app, we continue to see people searching for ways to fill the childcare gaps in spite of the challenges of the pandemic. As people start to think about childcare in the coming months, we know that Carefully will be an important option for providing affordable care within communities.
While it’s reassuring to know we can survive and come together stronger, we will be happy (and lucky) if we never go back to this place again. I hope that lessons we have learned individually and collectively will help ensure that we build a better future for our next generations. As we continue to grow the Carefully community, product, platform and ultimately the cooperative ownership model, the insights we have learned from growing Carefully during the pandemic will be invaluable in driving us forward efficiently and effectively as we all eagerly anticipate and move towards the light.