The upcoming year, 2016, is a special one for They're Our Kids -- it's our 10th anniversary!
We began as the 2006 Leadership Hendricks County group project for Jan Currier, myself (Eric Ivie), Gus Pearcy and Richard Sutton, and the first, very rudimentary, version of TOK went online in November of that year.
TOK has been revised, updated, and expanded countless times since Version 1.0 hit the Internet in 2006, and as we close the door on 2015, we celebrate 137,987 page views and 38,654 unique visitors to the website over the past year! Woo hoo!
This blog, The Village, is the primary source of those page views and unique visitors, and in an effort to determine what information Villagers are most interested in, I investigated which blog posts in 2015 drew the most interest.
Here's how it shook out:
10. Here We Grow Again ticket giveaway
One very popular event in Hendricks County is the Here We Grow Again kids' consignment sale that takes place a few times a year at the Hendricks County 4-H Fairgrounds in Danville. In 2015, Here We Grow Again donated two tickets to They're Our Kids to give away, and the ensuing blog post was the 10th-most popular post of the year.
9. Kindergarten registration information
Remembering back to when my kids entered kindergarten, I wondered if Villagers would appreciate information about kindergarten registration in all six public school corporations in the county. They did, to the tune of the 9th-most popular post of 2015. I'll definitely do a similar post for 2016-17 kindergarten registration.
8. I'm Offended
My blog post on being offended by everything was a way to vent frustration about how unhappy our society appears to be on a perpetual basis. It seems to have struck a chord with Villagers, too, resulting in the blog post coming in at No. 8 for the year.
7. I Survived the First Day of Kindergarten
I substitute teach for the Danville Community School Corporation, and I had the unique experience of opening the school year in a kindergarten class. I wouldn't trade that experience for the world -- those kids are awesome! -- but man, it'll wipe an old guy out!
6. Identifying Internet hoaxes and urban legends
Back in April, a story emerged that ISIS was recruiting kids in Brownsburg, using the name Daesh. The allegation raised all kinds of red flags in my mind, which prompted me to write a blog post about identifying Internet hoaxes and urban legends -- which subsequently stirred up the wrath of the accusers' family. (Footnote: Snopes.com later deemed the Daesh story as "probably false.")
5. Continuing the Conversation
A campaign has begun across Hendricks County to bring awareness to a heroin epidemic that is sweeping the nation, including our community. Understandably, this is a hot topic among Villagers, and this blog post about continuing the conversation about heroin and drugs in Hendricks County is the first of three posts about heroin to make the Top 10 list for 2015.
4. How Can Kids Just Walk Out of School?
We had a very unusual incident this fall when a Danville South Elementary School student simply walked away from school, triggering a community-wide search. (Footnote: he was found safe and unharmed a few hours later.) This prompted many parents to ask how kids can just walk out of school. My perspective clocked in at No. 4 for the year.
3. Threats against Hendricks County schools
The recent threats against Plainfield and Danville schools (and later, businesses) sent shockwaves throughout Hendricks County, Central Indiana and beyond. I offered a suggestion that we turn it into a teaching moment. As with the Internet hoax piece, this blog post unintentionally stirred up some controversy and that, combined with the nature of the topic, propelled this December post straight up to No. 3 for the year.
2. What to Know about Heroin
Given the current heroin epidemic, I wanted to tap into my knowledge and training as a former probation officer, as well as what I learned at various forums throughout the county, to give parents an idea of what to know about heroin. Education about heroin is our first line of defense against it, in my humble opinion. Evidently, Villagers appreciated the information because this blog post was the second-most popular entry of the year.
1. Hendricks County, We Have a Drug Problem: Heroin
It was bittersweet to see this blog post about Hendricks County's heroin problem go viral (at least by TOK standards) -- bitter because this nasty drug is an issue here, and sweet because so many Villagers are interested in tackling the problem. This post alone garnered nearly 20,000 page views, including 5,280 unique visitors on the night it came out. It's also one of three articles about heroin that made the Top Ten list for 2015, which I view as very encouraging: Villagers are banding together to learn about the problem, learn about the drug, and fight to save OUR KIDS as a community.
So there you have it -- the ten most popular They're Our Kids blog posts of 2015. I send my sincere, heartfelt thanks to all of the Villagers who have made this blog and this website so successful for a decade. It takes a Village to raise OUR KIDS, and we have quite a fantastic Village here in Hendricks County!
Let's keep it up in 2016. Happy New Year!
P.S. The blog wasn't the only popular part of They're Our Kids. Here are the five most popular information pages on the site in 2015:
Don't Miss a Thing! Become a Villager by subscribing!