ID Cards Make Dreams Come True for Children in Las Vegas

Posted December 8, 2011

Overview

Industry:
ID Card Printing

Application:
ID card software and printing to accommodate and track a growing roster of volunteers

Product Solution:
Fargo Persona C30 Card Printer, associated software and accessories

Solution Provider:
Greg Hamilton

Young people in Las Vegas were given a gift when the Dream Center began its ID card program seven months ago. They were given a sense of belonging.

The Dream Center is an outreach-driven church affiliated with the International Church of Las Vegas, dedicated to helping inner city families. “Our ministry provides hope by meeting both tangible and spiritual needs,” said David Hammonds Jr., Assistant Pastor responsible for oversight of children’s programs and outreach efforts. “We provide food, clothing, life rehabilitation, education, Biblical training and much more through our numerous ministries and outreach programs. We reach hundreds of hurting and needy children and adults across all races and cultures every week.”

In addition to regular Sunday services, the Dream Center provides multiple community programs, including a Thursday night dinner that feeds up to 300 homeless individuals. Located on the west side of the city, in an area most people choose to drive by, the Dream Center also ministers to about 300 at-risk children and teens through its Adopt-a-Block program. Children enrolled in the program receive a personal visit from a staff member at their home every week and are invited back to the Dream Center for Tuesday night programs.

“It takes a lot of work to stay connected to the kids and their families,” said Hammonds. When the Adopt-a-Block program began, there were approximately 20 participants, and administrators used a printed roster to take attendance. As new children joined the program, Dream Center administrators gathered information on the individuals. It wasn’t long before program acceptance exploded, and the number of participants went from 20 to 300, making the paper roster time-consuming and inefficient. “The issue for us was to get an accurate attendance for each service,” said Hammonds. “All of our students are bused to the building at much the same time. By the time we got to 300 kids, it was hard to keep track of everyone.”

In the fall of 2006, Hammonds began thinking about issuing the participants plastic ID cards that could be scanned as they entered the buildings, making the process easier. Some quiet talks with potential donors resulted in the gift of a Fargo Persona C30 Card Printer, associated software and accessories. “The kids absolutely love the ID cards,” said Hammonds. “It gives them a sense of belonging. They wear them to school and church, and they show them proudly when they get onto our vans and buses. Some kids tell me they sleep with the cards. One boy said he even showered with his on.”

“We did a lot of Internet shopping before we settled on the Fargo printer,” Hammonds said. “It looked like it had all of the functions in a machine I could afford.” Hammonds purchased the printer from BarcodesInc.

[The Fargo C30 was a great fit due to the small footprint and powerful engine. It’s a general law that over time technology will get smaller and more powerful. Given the fact that David did not need to print out hundreds of cards per hour, it was a logical choice. We have experienced great reliability with Fargo Products.]

As a former photographer, Hammonds knew he could take great pictures of the kids. To make it easy, he takes pictures from a van that travels through the neighborhoods. When children sign up to participate in Dream Center programs, they have their pictures taken at the same time. In addition to using the pictures for the ID cards, Hammonds also makes 4 x 6 prints for families who can’t afford to buy school photos, and he uses the photos to solicit Christmas sponsorships. “We accomplish three strong goals with that one function,” he said. “Kids love to have their pictures taken, and we get a lot of new kids to sign up for the Dream Center.”

In addition to taking pictures in the van, he normally sets up a couple of light boxes at the church and once a month takes photos of 50 kids at a time. Hammonds has trained student leaders to handle the software for the cards after he takes the photos. His concern now is how to hand off the photography, as well. “I’m afraid I have everyone spoiled,” he said.

Now, even the adults are jealous. “Once adults saw the kids wearing these great looking cards, they wanted them, too,” Hammonds laughed. “The ushers approached me, as well as the security team. The International Church of Las Vegas is building two more campuses in the next few years to add to the existing three that span the city, bringing the total congregation to more than 6,000 members. Some leaders at the other facilities have approached me about making cards for them, as well.”

Hammonds believes there are other untapped uses for the ID cards. “I’m keeping track of how often the children come to our Tuesday night program and may give out awards quarterly for good attendance,” he said. “It can become an incentive program for us.”

[ Having the ability to take attendance in a simple time saving step can allow you to free up time for other activities. In addition, the kids get a great looking custom badge that makes them feel important. It’s a win-win situation]

“The benefits of the ID card program are far beyond what I envisioned,” Hammonds said. “Not only do we get an accurate accounting at every service by simply scanning the ID cards as the kids enter the building, but they cherish their cards. The cards give them a sense of belonging.”

“We live in a fatherless society,” he continued. “This program will go a long way toward helping us keep the children we have in such a transient area.” He speaks from experience. Having lost his father when he was eight years old, Hammonds added softly, “These kids are me.”

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