Woodstock Area Job Bank

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The Job Bank has been having a non-profit crisis. We needed something we couldn’t afford( not a big surprise) except this time we needed it immediately. There was no time to plan or fundraise. We have been focusing on getting new workers listed at the Job Bank to fill the community need for odd-jobs. We have been focusing on getting students interested in doing this kind of work. We know that students don’t like to make phone calls. We know that students do text. We don’t. We have a landline at the Job Bank. We need a cell phone. Cell phones are expensive.


My son gave me his old cell phone (minus the charger, of course). He had upgraded and was only using the old one to store 1,397 photos. I tried to imagine Mark as a grandfather bringing out his stack of old cell phones to show the grandkids what life was like back in the day. Didn’t he know there were lots of online sites to store pictures? Even I know that


“Yes, Mom! I know.” (picture an eye roll here) “Put the pictures wherever, but don’t lose them.”


I put them in his google account. I have the password now so we should be good.


While I was uploading all the pictures, I discovered Google Voice. What’s that, I wondered. Wait, maybe this was the answer. It was free. All I had to do was sign up and I could get a real phone number. But could I text? No. But I could, if I also used Handoff, maybe, some web sites said it was possible. It looked to me like I would still need some sort of cell plan to use it.


Then, that same afternoon I drove the carpool for the seventh grade junior chef team. Jamie was complaining because she hadn’t been able to check her texts all day. Apparently her phone only used wifi.


I couldn’t resist. I broke the cardinal rule of carpool mom (“I am not listening”) and asked: “ How do you get texts over wifi?”


“Get the app TEXTFREE. They give you a real phone number and everything.”


“That is not possible!”


Actually, it is. If you are in seventh grade and primarily want to text, “OMG” to your friends it probably even works great. There are some catches that spell problems for adults.


“Oh, and,” Jamie added, “You pay for minutes by watching videos and taking surveys.”

What? Now I get it. For my teenage mentor watching videos and taking surveys was fun. I bet all her friends were doing the same thing. For the Job Bank, that was a deal breaker. I could just see it now: coming into the office in the morning and watching 15 minutes of videos to earn enough minutes to send the texts I needed to send. TEXTFREE would let me buy minutes and (guess what!) I could buy data, call forwarding and voicemail, too. In other words, I could pay them the same thing the cell phone companies were charging.


Back to square one. You get what you pay for. I knew that. I wasted a whole day trying to beat big brother at their own game. Happily for the Job Bank, thanks to a generous donation earmarked to further our work with students, we now have a prepaid cell phone until July and by then we can figure out what’s next.


Until next week,

Beth Crowe

Director Woodstock Area Job Bank

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