The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Minneapolis 2017, April 22-23


Paired with Wubba Lubba Dub Dub

ConnectWC is an initiative/network composed of individuals active in the development of an inclusive community for people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) starting in Washington County and the St. Croix Valley Area. We are eager to broaden to metro and Minnesota. The need is there!

IDD covers a wide variety of conditions, including: attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), traumatic brain injury, Down syndrome and other chromosomal disorders, learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, and physical conditions including vision and hearing impairments.

ConnectWC (Connect Washington County, Minnesota) is our roots (but see the need for expansion) is a place for self-advocates (people with disabilities), families, friends and community members. We connect self-advocates, parents, guardians, caregivers, family and other interested community members to create inclusive and meaningful civic and daytime activities, employment opportunities, and community experiences with people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) through partnerships with existing service providers and nonprofit organizations and the community at large.

What new functionality we are looking for

We need to step-up our website game!

Our website is full of extremely valuable information, however it can be overwhelming and hard to navigate. Life is busy for the parent/caregiver of those caring for people living with I/DD, therefore easy is needed! And of course, we are in need of a donation button!

We would like our website to have more simplicity and guidance for our users. We'd love to see something mobile friendly, events shown in calendar format, automatic notification when frequently referenced information changes, easy to read for everyone, and searchable information. In addition, the site needs to be straightforward enough for our all-volunteer-run organization to make updates!

How the new functionality will help

CONNECTIONS - More people will find it easier to connect to disability resources. They'll tell their friends/family/co-workers/neighbors, which will lead to more users and ultimately, improving the lives of people living with disabilities.

INDEPENDENCE - More independence for people living with disabilities. For example, we'd love it if someone living with disabilities could see if there's an upcoming event they want to attend without having to ask a parent or caregiver to search on his/her behalf. It is so simple, but that little bit of independence means the world to people.

OUTREACH/ADVOCACY - More disability awareness. A searchable, user-friendly, appealing site will showcase the need promote resources/jobs/programs for those with I/DD. A link from our site to social media will enhance the awareness and have a greater outreach.

The lives of those either caring for or living with I/DD is so complicated anything we can help to make lives easier is our ultimate goal.

How our organization will use the technology

Our all volunteer-based organization has limited time and resources. New technology would allow us to:

- Automatically update re-occurring events

- Present events in calendar format (maybe something that connects to common calendars such as Outlook or Google?)

- Simplify usability do updates and find information

- Bring us into the mobile friendly generation

A new website will streamline our website work and volunteer time, and allow us to concentrate more on growing our organization. Currently there are two volunteers that manually seek events and new information to add to our website. We are in desperate need of automation. Not to mention, we will reach more people on a day-to-day basis with a mobile friendly tool and calendar format.

Who will use the technology

ConnectWC Members: We will gain time by automating the calendar updates and other resource updates. An easy to use website will hopefully lead to more users and reach our goals to connecting the community.

Families: Quick & easy access to information which will lead to more users.

People with Disabilities: Independence to seek information on their own.

School Districts: Currently one school district has our website linked with their website. These improvements will lead to more districts linking to our site, and to again achieve our goal to connect the community.

Community Organizations: Easy to use = more users = more connections (possibly employment opportunities)!

TBD: This seems like a great model for other communities! Maybe others will want to create something similar.

We want to create a community of belonging for all people of all abilities!

Before & After Snapshots

Thumbnail_tc2017-connectwc-before Thumbnail_tc2017-connectwc-after

67 Messages from Supporters

2017-03-25 20:36:38 UTC
Chloette is a resource we depend on for our son. Getting the site to the next level is something this community deserves.

2017-03-26 00:23:50 UTC

Great site, great information, great help for families! Thank you for all you do.

2017-03-26 00:25:00 UTC

You guys rock!!

2017-02-22 02:32:01 UTC
Chloe's Dad

This has been a phenomenal resource for us. I hope the Nerdery will help them build a world class web presence.

2017-03-03 23:09:35 UTC

What a wonderful resource for families. Please help them make it even better.

2017-03-04 10:34:06 UTC
Danny S

This is an inspiring network that finds local solutions to some very complex and REAL challenges. This community based approach is critical to find lasting fixes to an issue that affects every neighborhood.

2017-03-08 13:52:15 UTC
Andrea B

What a great resource for families! Please help them make there website even better!

2017-03-09 19:52:37 UTC
Amy C

ConnectWC is a great resource to connect and identify what resources are available for folks. Many often have time constraints and a bit of stress in their life. A revamp of the website would be so useful for quick navigation for all!

2017-03-10 14:37:35 UTC

This is a great local resource! I would love for them to receive a web site face lift so they can continue to grow and reach more families looking for this information.

2017-03-26 21:22:56 UTC
Heather B

Connect WC is a valuable resource for families like mine. I can only imagine the impact they could make with an updated website.

2017-03-27 01:55:47 UTC

I have 2 children with special needs and find this resource very valuable! Please consider helping them take the next step to make their site even better and user friendly!

2017-03-27 13:07:04 UTC
Margaret Lehmicke

This group offers invaluable resources and tools for families. They deserve only the best!

2017-03-27 13:07:29 UTC
Margaret Lehmicke

This group offers invaluable resources and tools for families. They deserve only the best!

2017-03-14 00:24:00 UTC

We love this website! It would be great if it was easier to use on my cell phone.

2017-02-07 15:42:04 UTC
Jody Karlen

As someone who served as volunteer editor for years, our current website is cumbersome to work on from the back side. It is very time consuming to update and add content. The complexity involved limits the number of volunteers able to work on it. Since we are 100% volunteer run, this uses up a lot of volunteer time resources that could go toward increasing the good work that CWC does. That said, the website is a wonderful resource for parents, self-advocates, and any community member who wants to learn more and understand I/DD. It would be a disservice to these people if it were to be abandoned due to it's complexity. Making it easier to work on would ensure it's continued updating, accuracy and relevance in sharing information to the I/DD community and others who want to learn more. Thank you for considering helping this important resource.

2017-03-15 15:34:39 UTC

The benefits that Connect WC provides are what make small communities like ours great. Mobile friendly or a mobile app is key, as many use this as their only access to the internet, especially when they are on the go.

2017-03-16 16:41:29 UTC
Tammy Caballero

I love visiting this website as it provides a lot of information. We would certainly appreciate a mobile-friendly option or app! Thanks!

2017-03-29 19:21:36 UTC
Mary M

Love this amazing resource! It helps so many families. It would be great to see an updated and expanded website.

2017-02-10 12:10:27 UTC
Monique Kolb

I go to this website to find information to help advocate and care for my now adult son with disabilities. The site always has what I am looking for, but it can be a little hard to navigate. I am glad you have decided to work on making a good website easier to navigate. A calendar and more streamlined view will help. And since I am usually on my phone when I am searching your site, having it be mobile friendly would be great. Thanks for all you do to help families like mine!!

2017-02-10 14:46:32 UTC
Donna Mossberg 2017-2-09

CWC is a great concept. It allows people to find groups/organizations and events that can be helpful to them and their loved ones. The website can be even more useful if it could be simplified. Perhaps a home page with bulleted items for major topics and a calendar listing upcoming events. The user would only have to click on the topic or event to be taken to the page describing the topic or event in more detail. The webmaster would only have to update items that have changed from the previous time the website was updated. The old rule of thumb was "no more than two clicks" to reach the item. Perhaps something fun in the design of the home page. It needs to be as friendly and welcoming as possible. Thank you

2017-02-13 19:41:40 UTC
Susan Kane

ConnectWC is an amazing resource like no other! I have used the site to find information for my daughter who has a disability as well as given other parents the site link. But it is so much information, easier navigation is needed as well as mobile friendly. The folks that run ConnectWC are a hard working volunteers and sure could use the help of this event!!

2017-02-13 20:54:10 UTC
Chris and Alex

Simple and easy to navigate resources are really needed here. ConnectWC does a great job providing much needed information, now if it could be better organized and a mobile friendly website would be great!

2017-03-03 19:23:48 UTC

I heartily support this venture. Having been a substitute paraprofessional in the Sillwater area public school district for a number of years, I appreciate the great need for specialized environments for children with special needs and their families who benefit greatly from community support. It's a win win opportunity.

2017-03-03 22:07:45 UTC

I am frequently looking for resources to share with the families of students with whom I work with in the school setting. The ease of improved navigation with an updated website for ConnectWC would be extremely helpful.

2017-03-06 17:31:23 UTC

I too support this venture. I have a wonderful grandchild who is bright eyed, kind, aware and energetic. He has so much to offer this world but he will have more of a challenge than most. This website will not only help parents, siblings and professionals but also grandparents who can become more knowledgeable, helpful and able to share with other grandparents what they have learned.

2017-03-08 01:33:25 UTC

I wanted to pledge my support for ConnectWC! My daughter has a Developmental Disability and I have found resources such as these to be a priceless source of information to help my child and our family live the best, most full life. To have all of these tools and information in one place saves these busy families so much time when they already have a full plate. Thank you for all of your hard work!

2017-03-08 02:59:02 UTC
Shere Krusemark

Connect WC is a wonderful resource for our family. Our daughter, Grace, is about to enter kindergarten in the fall and this is a great place for us to keep in the loop with what is going on in our area. A new web site that is easier to navigate would be fabulous!!! Thank you for considering us! You'd be impacting so many area families.

2017-03-08 03:08:43 UTC

Please help ConnectWC improve their website! I use this website as a resource for my son, who has Down syndrome, and also recommend it to other families that have questions or need guidance. An upgrade to the website would benefit so many families!! Thank you for considering it!

2017-03-08 22:17:42 UTC
Kathleen S

As someone who has been involved in sponsoring and attending the Overnight Web Challenge more than once, I respect what a difficult decision it can be to select which organizations are selected. I hope that ConnectWC is selected this year- they are relied upon by close personal friends of mine (and many others!). Some rebranding and improved functionality would be tremendous for them!

2017-03-09 06:48:36 UTC
Margaret C.

I have had wonderful connections with young people who have differing disabilities (as well as a son with a disability) and they all wanted to be able to go and do the same as any other young person.... ConnectWC would be a wonderful resource for parents to access for local information on what is available for them and if it is improved it would make the search easier and faster for the parents. Connect WC would be a great group to support....

2017-03-10 16:26:14 UTC
Teal B

Connect WC does awesome and very real work towards improving the lives of those who need it most. It would be so wonderful if the website could be improved and streamlined for easier access and readability. Connect WC is an important asset to what makes Washington County a wonderful place to raise our family.

2017-03-10 23:01:06 UTC
Jammi HB

The ConnectWC website has been an amazing resource for families near and far. It provides needed information about challenging topics around education, finances, health, and informed decision making for people living with developmental disabilities and the people that love them - at the click of a mouse.

It is time to take a look at how to streamline and update the site. What else could happen on it? How else could information be shared? How could calendar items be easier to find?

ConnectWC is a way that people with disabilities can be more closely connected to their community. The website is an important and needed tool.

Please select ConnectWC and continue to help provide an impact to this community!

2017-03-13 17:06:53 UTC
Pat Haug

This is a great organization made up of people interested in providing inclusive community for those with disabilities. The website is a great 1 shop place to get a variety of information all in one place. The newsletter also alerts me to new opportunities for involvement and new laws or news articles pertaining to the disability community.

2017-03-13 20:07:10 UTC

This web site provides so much useful info that is helpful and needed to families with disabilities, but it is very outdated. It's not user -friendly, and it's hard to find items. A more user-friendsly version that was better organized would really help us families who rely on it.

A site with better graphics would also be more appealing to the kids with disabilities. Yes, they use it too, and would like a better, cooler version to plan their social calendars!

2017-03-13 20:53:42 UTC
Michelle Bracewell-Musson

ConnectWC is an avenue that provides education, outreach, relationships, information, and connections for all people with a focus on challenges. Being new to the area, it has been a "light" for which we can find guidance and connection to others that have common interests or need to be kept up to date regarding opportunities in the community that are relevant. We are very grateful this resource is available and are doing much better since finding out about ConnectWC.

2017-03-14 00:59:08 UTC
Sarah S

As a parent of two kids with special needs, navigating through local resources has been overwhelming. So much of what I have learned has been through casual conversations with other parents in my position. The beauty of ConnectWC is that it offers valuable information in one place in a concise format. From learning about legislation, patent groups, summer camps and other things, it's such a valuable instrument for a parent in my position to use. The ease of improved navigation with an updated website for ConnectWC would be extremely helpful.

2017-03-14 13:08:08 UTC
Ann Jones

ConnectWC is a life line for those of us with kids facing the next phase of their life - life after school. The next steps are confusing and a bit scary as we help them transition to the real world. ConnectWC provides comfort, information and resources but it is not laid out well and is disconnected. Help making this website even better and easier to find needed information would be most appreciated.

2017-03-14 14:26:24 UTC
Jenny L

This site has been an amazing resource for my family!

We really rely on the variety of information available as well as the opportunities for support within our community. The site serves an incredible purpose in our community but really needs an update. We would love to see more links for things like a calendar instead of so many lists. Connect WC really deserves this update as it would benefit so many kids with disabilities and the families that love them!

2017-03-14 22:29:04 UTC
Kerry Berneck

This website is a valuable resource for families with disabilities and for community outreach. Making it mobile-friendly would only increase awareness and access to this site.

2017-03-16 15:58:13 UTC
Sally Butwin

Connection is the number one most important resource. Not only does networking unite us in a shared concern but the friendships and support offset the trial. Thank you, Pat Haug, for your creative solution to connecting more families to potential resources!

2017-03-16 19:48:21 UTC
Michelle S

I'm a case worker and this site has been so incredibly helpful - it's so hard to gather information on events and it's amazing that connectwc does it for you. I refer families and coworkers to this site all the time to get connected to community resources.

2017-03-16 17:17:15 UTC
Judy Gulden

Several of my friends have family members or acquaintances that rely on the services, expertise and activities provided by Connect WC. The site has helped me appreciate the dedication and talent of family members, as well as the efforts of the county and school district, to help individuals of all abilities enjoy a rich full life.

2017-03-16 17:48:53 UTC
Melissa D

We rely on this site to help connect with services, opportunities and other families with special needs children. It provides a vital connection in our community, please support this worthy effort!

2017-03-17 04:46:45 UTC

Connect WC is a wealth of information for families with special needs children. When my husband took a job in Minneapolis, I was relieved to find an organization that had the connections I needed for our son. I was able to find activities that he could enjoy and make him feel part of the community.
Please overnight website challenge create a website so ConnectWC can help more families and children with special needs.
As a retired programmer who worked on DOS based programs, I am sure you can make an awesome ConnectWC website.

2017-03-20 02:29:20 UTC

Wonderful resource for all those navigating the world for their special needs child.

2017-03-22 01:51:50 UTC

Wonderful can find everything you need. Would love to see it stay around and be mobile ready.

2017-03-25 23:23:21 UTC
Katie Bystrom

As a county social worker, I have found the best way to help families is to connect them with existing resources and people who have faced similar challenges. By helping Connect WC with a web site update, you will ease the challenge many families face as they seek additional resources, support, and information.

2017-03-26 00:22:50 UTC

This website has helped our family find resources for our loved one with a developmental disability. We count on it and it really helps. I look forward to a more user friendly website, especially a mobile friendly version.

2017-03-26 23:06:58 UTC

This website is such a valuable resource for our family. We live in Ramsey County and find that the website crosses over with information for all Counties in the Southeast Metro area. It is such a time saver. In one click, it becomes a one stop shop in searching for things to do, information on medical resources, educational events, different therapy clinics, upcoming meetings, etc, which are related to helping those with I/DD live a better life. It is AWESOME!

2017-03-27 02:31:06 UTC

Great site for info..please help make it even better.

2017-03-27 12:15:32 UTC
Caryn Sullivan

I just learned about this website. It's such a valuable tool for parents like myself. But a bit overwhelming to navigate. As one who has paid to develop (and redesign) my website, I know it is costly and time consuming. This group is doing great work - let's support them!

2017-03-29 16:58:31 UTC
Maggie's Mom

Finding the right resources for your child when they have special needs can be overwhelming. My youngest daughter received her first diagnosis (of Apraxia) at the age of 18 months and has since received Speech, OT, PT, and Food therapies. ConnectWC is an important resource for families like mine. Please help ConnectWC with their website improvement project so they can serve our community even more effectively!

2017-03-28 01:21:07 UTC
Kathy Jo

ConnectWC is a great organization and a new website will help many families get information better! Thank you for this opportunity!

2017-03-28 20:23:39 UTC
Sarah N.

ConnecWC is SUCH an important resource. My son was recently diagnosed with ADHD and OCD, and it is so hard the right resources. It would be a huge help for ConnectWC to have an updated website that is mobile friendly. So many people access resources only through their mobile-device, and they miss out on the fabulous information on this website. It is a huge need!

2017-03-29 02:53:35 UTC

I have used ConnectWC so many times, but with my abilities it is hard for me. Simply, Please help them make it easier for all of us!

2017-03-29 12:43:54 UTC

.A more user-friendly website would make it easier to navigate, therefore increasing the connections between families, educators, care-givers, and community members. Thank you!

2017-03-29 14:45:25 UTC
Simone L

This website is great for people living in Washington County. It would be great to add information for other counties (especially Ramsey, Hennepin and Anoka).

It would also be great to add information about clubs and organizations that aren't especially geared toward people with developmental the Jaycees, Lions Club or other local organizations that people with disabilities could consider joining. I do appreciate the faith and spirituality page.

Please consider this site for an upgrade.

2017-03-29 16:14:37 UTC

This site is awesome, continue the good work. Would like to see it expand to other counties in Minnesota as well. Dolly W.

2017-03-29 10:40:32 UTC

ConnectWC is a great resource! Thank you for working to make it even better. I would love it to be mobile friendly. Such great info, thanks!

2017-03-29 15:34:14 UTC

Great resource! We definitely value all resources available to us. Thank you for all the great info you provide.

2017-03-29 04:05:54 UTC
Elena M

Thank you Connect WC with being our place to turn to when we are searching for info to help our son! It is such an important website and an upgrade is crucial in making it more user friendly. This will allow easier access for more users.

2017-03-29 10:47:56 UTC

This website is a valuable resource for families with a person with a disability? Please consider choosing this site for the redesign project to make it even better.

2017-03-29 12:28:11 UTC

Very helpful resource for our daughter. Until we found this website, we just relied on others for the information we needed, now we can be more proactive and find things before we need them.

2017-03-29 16:15:20 UTC

This site is awesome, continue the good work. Would like to see it expand to other counties in Minnesota as well.

2017-03-29 17:09:08 UTC
Sharyl Sicoli

My 20 year old son has Autism and very limited language skills....however, he loves being social and attending events in the community. Connect WC is a site we visit together to learn more about events we can attend and improve his social and communications skills and have fun! He has fun while learning and I am able to meet new "friends" and feel less isolated. We are so thankful for Connect WC!

2017-03-29 21:34:02 UTC

This is a fabulous tool for staff working in residential settings so they can keep up on community events and help the individuals they support in connecting to their community in meaningful and fun ways. The easier we make finding and accessing resources only benefits all of us in the community. Let's make this happen!

2017-04-03 16:43:36 UTC

The easier the better for me who did not grow up in the computer world. Anytime someone offers assistance is greatly appreciated.

Our Mission

Our Mission: A network dedicated to bold thinking and practical doing with people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) to create a community of belonging for all. One way we accomplish this mission is through our website. It's a one-stop shop for all resources related to disabilities: education, financial, assistive technology, legislative, medical, sports, social, and community.