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Special Project

Special Project
From the 16th Annual Shorty Awards

Counting On Us

Silver Honor in Health & Wellness Podcast

Audience Honor in Health & Wellness Podcast


    With more than a century of experience, ACH Child and Family Services brings needed resources and skills to children and families struggling with life’s challenges. Some of our programs keep children and families together while others provide a healing home for children who can’t live with their families. 

   Our original podcast, Counting On Us takes you inside the work we do to bring hope to the people we serve. Each episode covers topics like gaining independence, healing from trauma, and building a family. People also get to hear expert knowledge on child development, mental health, and the foster care system.

    The objective of the show is to use storytelling to strengthen brand awareness and to educate the public on ACH’s seventeen distinct programs. That's why we chose to tell each story from the perspective of those who have received our services. You learn and grow as our guests share their journey from crisis to transformation.

Strategy and Execution

    Counting On Us is a story-driven podcast. This format improved audience retention, mission buy-in, and pull through of families in need of our services. Strategically, it made our show stand out among child welfare podcasts, which mostly follow an interview based format with long conversations between experts. But very few place the voices of those with lived experience to the forefront. Counting On Us changed that!

    To achieve our vision, we always prioritized in-person recording. It not only raised the production value of the show, but it was instrumental in developing rapport with host Daniel Treviño. It helped guests relax and feel comfortable enough to speak from their hearts. Second, being able to capture key milestones was important. Whether it was a graduation, adoption, or family celebration; being able to incorporate those real life moments heightened the emotional impact. Lastly, the podcast stayed focused on the theme “relationships get results,” demonstrating how ACH partners with families to find solutions whenever a crisis arises. 

    Counting On Us did face some challenges. Documentary podcasts require heavy editing of multiple interviews, on-location recordings, music, and planning to shape the story into a cohesive narrative. In addition, key stakeholders needed time to clear the content due to privacy concerns and agency guidelines. With a small production team, these structural factors amounted to a slowed production output. 

    In order to rapidly increase the volume of content, we realized we could capitalize on our collection of documentary podcasts by creating companion episodes. These episodes offered insightful commentary from different youth and caregivers facing some of the same challenges featured in the documentaries. By structuring the episode into two main interview blocks, the time in post production was dramatically reduced. The result was the number of episodes doubled while also adding value to the series.  

    In May 2023, ACH launched its brand awareness campaign with targeted digital ads and outdoor billboards to market to locals, donors who give to children’s causes, and the general public. A press release was sent to Dallas-Fort Worth media outlets, garnering the podcast mentions in local child welfare blogs. Finally, a collection of social media assets were generated like the podcast trailer, audiograms, episode specific graphics, and key story photos.


    Since our brand awareness campaign launched in May, we’ve seen a 157% increase in pageviews compared to the same period last year. But – even more significant from an awareness perspective – new users have nearly tripled. On streaming platforms, Counting On Us has received 5-star ratings from both Apple Podcast and Spotify, with an average consumption rate of 70%.

    This fall, an episode from the podcast was repackaged into a short, mission-moment video to be presented at ACH’s major fundraiser, Hoot N’ Holler. That night, ACH broke a fundraising record by raising $154,148 for a single event!

    Finally, the time invested to craft authentic stories with broad appeal has paid off in dividends. Here are some examples from guests of Counting On Us:

“Thank you for telling my story! I pray that it blesses and helps so many other future adoptive parents, children in care, caregivers and others who are doing this work. I am so grateful for the opportunities afforded to me through ACH. Thank you for being a willing vessel for this project!!” - Semico, in response to Episode 05: A Family’s Legacy 

“Thank you! If one person benefits, if one person makes the decision to help a child, and if one person who is at the end of their rope realizes help is out there, then we did our job! God bless you for this.” - Arquilla, in response to Episode 08: The Right Support Transforms Care


Video for Counting On Us

Entrant Company / Organization Name

ACH Child and Family Services


Entry Credits