Thursday, November 5, 2009

Incredible Woman #12 - Betty Pearson. Thursday's question...

KARA: "Tell us about the email lists you run. They are amazing!
BETTY: "I started my first email list in 1995 for stay-at-home moms. I dislike gabbing on the phone, so this was a fun way to share and socialize through emails.

The next group I started was for moms who home schooled. It is an international group. We support one another, encourage, help, are resources and sounding boards. Back in the old days of home schooling, most people had never heard of it, and there was no curriculum for homes. It was very challenging. Karl and I wrote a book on how to home school (before the internet arrived). And I was the state convention chairman for a few years, planning, organizing, and making sure it ran smoothly. We had 80 plus workshops, over 100 commercial exhibitors, and as many as 2800 attendees.

I started my missionary mom's email groups in 1997, a year before my first two children served their missions. I had a lot of questions about missions and how to prepare for them. We were new in our area, and I didn't know anyone who had sent out missionaries except for my older sister, who lived in Idaho Falls. The thought came to me, "Why not start a missionary mom email group". I already had other email groups, so Karl set it up for me, and that was the beginning.

In those days we lumped everyone into the same groups. I had 8 different general Missionary Mom email groups. Then we decided to separate them into geographical areas. Now we have 88 separate emails groups for moms of missionaries.

We do have some dads in the groups, too. And not everyone is LDS. We welcome those not of our faith who have sons or daughters serving an LDS mission, or those who have parents serving missions.

We also have email groups for those who have service missionaries, and those who are ward missionaries, and those who have missionaries who return home earlier than expected.

We have three groups for those in the Military: Wives, and Moms.

And we have email groups for those that are diabetics, and Karl has a political group.

The most challenging things about running these groups is keeping up with the day-to-day list work, such as adding new subscribers, changing email addresses, putting people on no-mail for vacations, etc. and solving email problems, as well as answering questions and helping individuals with other issues.

The next most challenging is helping people understand how an email group works. Not all subscribers know the difference between email and websites. Many of the moms get an email address right before their son or daughter leaves on a mission, and have no clue how to use email.

The other challenge is making sure people understand email list rules and etiquette, and occasionally stepping in and halting a topic run amok or stopping a flame war, which is rare, thank goodness!

About every 6 months I analyze how each group is doing. Too much chatting? Too little chatting? Then, if needed, I divide a group so that everyone isn't overloaded with emails in their inboxes. It takes a lot of time to separate an email group. It is a full-time job for about 3-4 days just to make sure it happens correctly.

Running email groups and maintaining our websites is a lot of work, but we have loved doing it. It truly is a service that benefits many, including ourselves! We have made lifetime friends. Every year we have get-togethers for some of our groups, so it is fun to meet people in person. Members come from all over the world. Last year we met Ann from Israel. I think that is the furthest someone has come."

KARA: "Betty, tell us what your most important accomplishment is."
BETTY: "I suppose to me, it has been raising a family. Still doing it. :-) I love it. As far as more worldly things, well, I've been able to accomplish many other things. Becoming an excellent Cellist. "Founding an organization called, Utah Valley Citizens for Decency" in the 1980s before there was an internet. We were able to travel to Denver to attend a national conference about how pornography led to violent crimes such as rape, and sexual abuse of children. We were able to get our 7-11 stores to remove magazines that were objectionable, and videos from stores in our county.

I already mentioned helping many people learn how to home school. That was so fun to do!

And now, Karl and I are helping people learn how to do family history and genealogical research.

But, like I said, being a mom and a wife and having a home, a refuge from the world, has been my greatest accomplishment. My kids aren't perfect, but that is why we are moms forever! :-)"
I've really enjoyed getting to know Betty this week. Tomorrow is our last day for Betty's feature. I hope everyone will come back and leave a comment for Betty.


Micki said...

I know people who have opted for home schooling, and their kids have received a wonderful education! Great interview!

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