Day 8 of 100 Days

Sarah Swaysland

Friday, 8th January, 2021

Today, I hit my first major hurdle when I got a text message from my son’s school at 06.55 which read: “Apologies for the short notice but I am contacting you to let you know that your child’s class has been closed today due to a staffing issue. I will be in touch with you later this morning with further information. This early message is to ensure you do not start your journey to school. Thank you for your understanding”.

What: Google AdWords
Organisation: Dons Local Action Group and AFC Wimbledon Foundation

Throughout this pandemic, I have always tried to appreciate how lucky I am to be in a position where I am able to drop everything to take care of my son if need be - my partner works full-time in a really good company, and I am able to commit to the career change that has been slowly coming to me for a while. The fact that school was cancelled also serves as a reminder to me that I need to make an effort to not overstretch myself with this 100 day challenge. Although I am still determined to do something for someone else for 100 days running, I don’t think being a volunteer teacher really counts because while parenting can be seen as a voluntary role, you have an obligation to prioritise it over everything else. Therefore, I will just have to work the volunteering around full-time parenting, which is certainly going to add some colour to the challenge.

Today, me and my son have been focused on building the Sesame Street Lego set together and it’s been amazing because it’s really good for his fine motor skills and he loves playing with the characters. I also really enjoy it because there's a real sense of satisfactio when you complete a Lego set. For me, it’s not about totally keeping my son away from the TV, it’s about keeping him away from shit TV. I don’t mind him watching Mr Tumble, Sesame Street or Hey Duggee, because I really think he learns from those types of programmes, especially when it comes to communication and language. What I don’t like is leaving him in front of the telly when he’s watching YouTube videos of people playing with Play Doh. And I really hate Bing. I’m yet to read a study which says that TV is universally bad for children, so I do get annoyed when people criticise you for giving your child more than an hour a day of telly.

I had a call booked-in at 11am with some Dutch students from Utrecht University who had signed-up to help a charity with Google AdWords through the Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC). This is the third charity I’m signed-up with on the GOMC, as it’s a really great way to get some help with optimising your AdWords account and without having to spend hours and hours by yourself putting together a keywords plan. It’s all overseen by uni professors who offer guidance during the whole process, and so far my experience with the challenge has been really positive. Without getting too technical here, the Google Ad Grants account for AFCWF/DLAG is slightly more complicated than your average account because there are two websites which operate under the same charity number which means they have the same Google account and they compete against each other in keywords which makes it slightly problematic.

While linked, the two organisations both have pretty clear remits:

AFCWF: To help the community pursue their dreams by improving their skills, resilience, well-being and confidence.
DLAG: To help those in the local community who are in need of support and fight poverty and isolation

Both are very community-focused, but AFCWF is largely focused on building skills and physical health through exercise and DLAG is focused on fighting poverty and loneliness. I'm looking forward to working with the band of Dutch women, they seem really nice and more than capable of doing a great job. The initial meeting was very good, and this weekend they will be getting on with the time-consuming job of researching keywords.

I'm a Bristol Rovers fan, but I've always had a soft spot for the Wimbledon football club in Plough Lane because it's so resilient. The fact that it's been able to start from scratch and find league success more than once in my lifetime is certainly something to be proud of, and the people you meet at the Foundation and the DLAG are so incredibly passionate about club and community (even though I've only met most of them on WhatsApp).