Early this year, after a lot of struggling with the tech and funding, we rolled out Find-a-Doc, our database system to help young people find quality, in-person services like sexual and reproductive healthcare, counseling, and LGBT, youth and domestic violence crisis shelters and services. The database includes a rating system so that those who have used the services can add recommendations or comments to help other users choose services, or know things about services from a first-person perspective. As you probably know yourself, we all tend to feel a lot better about using a service someone else has personally recommended or vetted: that's why we set up Find-a-Doc, and did so the way that we did.
We also use the database as staff and volunteers when working one-on-one with a user to help them find in-person services they need. But since it's been slow-going to get the database packed, we still have to spend a good deal of time searching in other ways, which is far less efficient and useful. Having the database have many, many options doesn't just help our users, it helps our staff and volunteers in serving them best and in managing our time effectively, especially given our high traffic and heavy workload.
As of right now, we have close to 200 different listings from around the world. But we'd really like a whole lot more. So, we're asking for your help.
Many young people haven't yet used any of these services because they don't know where or how to find them, or aren't sure what's safe for and supportive of them. We know that from the work we do here every day
So, to make up for that, our staff and volunteers have worked hard to add listing from services we have used or already know of. However, there are only around ten of us, while we've millions of users and readers every year, some of whom live in areas none of us have ever visited or lived in ourselves.
What we'd like our readers and supporters to do is just take maybe a half an hour to an hour of your time to help us add some more listings. Could we get your help as a community?
Obviously, the easiest thing to do is to add a listing of a service you yourself have used -- or work for or with: this is about the best free advertising for a youth service you can get! -- even if you are not a young person anymore: if that service serves young people currently, that's all we need.
Alternately, if you haven't used any of these services, haven't used them in a while, or never found anything you've felt served well by, you can just pick an area, a kind of service you want young people to be able to access, open up a search engine and find a few to enter into the database. We vet all entries ourselves, so if there are things you're not sure of, that's okay, we'll double-check everything before making a listing live. If in doubt, we call these services to check listings with someone in person at the listed service. Before adding listings, you can insert the zip code where you're thinking of adding to see what's already there. And by all means, if something you were going to add is already listed, and you've used that service, it'd be great if you could add a review!
Filling out an entry is easy, and putting a few in might even take you just minutes. Our users and we as staff and volunteers would be incredibly grateful for your help. Some areas where we have few to no listings so far and have the biggest need for listings include: Malaysia, the Southern US, Mexico, (all of) South America, Italy, France, Spain, India, Poland and Russia.
If you know you're going to pick a given area and work on that, it'd be additionally awesome if you'd leave a note about that in the comments here. That way, we will focus our time on other areas when we're working as staff to add more listings.
Thanks so much for any help you can give!