community organizing

Event Planning and Fund Raising

VISTA Name: 
Dana Sou
Program Start: 
11/2006
Project Outcome: 

Dana Sou actively participated in building the capacity of the Community Technology Organizing Consortium on various levels. Dana helped to organize 3 major events which included: COTC’s Annual Christmas event in December, NTEN’s Accessibility Institute in Los Angeles in January, and our annual Meet the Funder Event in June. Each of these events required vast outreach and community organizing to CTOC’s members which consists of various non-profit organizations and CTC’s in the Los Angeles area. Dana was successful in drawing attention and generating interest to these three events by actively communicating with numerous organizations through phone calls, and posting on the listserve.

Dana has also collaborated with CTOC staff to write and edit parts of CTOC’s three year strategic plan that spans from fundraising to media policy initiatives. She has also helped in areas of funding through conducting research for potential funding through foundation searches and has written up Letter’s of Inquiry (LOI’s) as well as draft and edit grant proposals. She is also currently writing a policy position paper concerning technology standards among high schools. Dana’s participation with CTOC has greatly helped the organization through community outreach, funding, and creating resourceful research projects.

Marketing and Outreach Coordinator

VISTA Name: 
James Lofton
Program Start: 
2/2007
Project Description: 

- Lead community outreach and marketing efforts
- Hold information sessions about NTRC Programs and Services
- Develop our database, track client information
- Create surveys and evaluations for users to evaluate NTRC programs
- Coordinate community groups and leaders and hold meetings including users, stakeholders, and other community members on issues related to the NTRC projects
- Market NTRC programs and services to partner organizations, Service Connectors and Housing Developments
- Create publications, press releases and newspaper articles

Program Development and Outreach

Organization: 
Appalshop
VISTA Name: 
Julia Taylor
Program Start: 
7/2008
Program End: 
7/2009
Project Description: 

Julia works in various capacities at Appalshop/Thousand Kites Project. She manages “StoryLine,” our online story-gathering project, for which she uploads audio to the content management system, and writes the copy for the website. She also responds to communication via our social networking sites and writes emailblasts. She works with community members (locally and nationally) to gather their stories about the criminal justice system and post them to the website. She also is currently creating a plan for a google map to document these stories using new technology. She also co-produces our campaigns. For our most recent campaign, Calls From Home, Julia coordinated the targeted outreach to radio station managers, prison chaplains, and prisoners and their families. She does the background research for the campaigns and organizes content. Including partnerships with other non-profits for viral marketing support. Julia works with community members (stakeholders) to identify community needs to inform future campaigns and communication strategies. Julia also produces our weekly radio show, Holler to the Hood, which broadcast online, as well supporting workshops that train community members and stake-holders in radio/online production.

Project Outcome: 

When Julia arrived at Appalshop, she spent the first couple of months working with staff to revamp the project’s website, making it media rich, clean, and efficient. We now have an direct model for people to call in their stories and a way to share them on the web. At the same time, Julia aided in the creation of a Facilition Guide, which helps Thousand Kites be a model for communities to take action. This document makes our work process more efficient because we can now direct people to the guide, instead of having to talk through all the details with each individual community. It is available in print and online and has greatly increased our capacity to train and garner participants. Julia has taken the lead on developing our database, updating contacts, and training staff on a system for long-term use. Overall Julia has worked at all levels of the organization to build our communication, online, and digital capacity.

Julia is able to identify key opportunities, and run with them. While looking through old email to learn more about the project’s correspondence, she found an unanswered email from a poet who was willing to volunteer his time to the project. Julia contacted him about possible connections, and now his network of poets has become a tremendous source of capacity in our project. His online community of writers has generated hundreds of audio samples for our website. Another example of this was when we received an email from a woman in the Virgin Islands who is dealing with the prisoners from her community being shipped up to prisons in our region. Julia saw this as an opportunity to really immerse in a community’s issue and help them find ways they could take action locally. The group has since produced their own radio program and hosted multiple film screenings using the Kites tools.

Impact Quote: 

Without our VISTA we would not have gotten several projects off the ground or reached the level of capacity that we have. Julia greatly expanded outreach and participation in our program by local, regional, and national communitiy members through building our communication backbone, developing a model for web-site content production, and building tools to lower the threshold of working with our program. It has simply impacted the entire organization to have someone focused on capacity building and research.

Community Organizing and Disability Awareness

VISTA Name: 
Rayna Ramirez
Program Start: 
6/2007
Program End: 
1/2008
Project Description: 

The focus of Rayna’s work was to help organize a committee of people with disabilities, staff from public and non-profit agencies that serve them, and community volunteers to carry out the North Quabbin TechACCESS project (funded via CTCNet’s C4All program). Her goal was to build the capacity of the committee to make YES’ facilities, materials, programs and services more accessible and, next, to assist other community organizations and institutions to do the same. Specifically, her job was to:

1) assist with committee recruitment and operations;
2) conduct a community accessibility needs assessment;
3) organize committee training sessions and skill-development activities;
4) assist with research, purchase and installation of equipment, fixtures and technologies;
5) assist with research, preparation and production of accessible program materials;
6) promote the use of the newly-accessible facility, services and programs; and
7) document these activities and evaluate their outcomes.

Project Outcome: 

Rayna assembled a volunteer committee of 12 residents, caregivers and professionals following two information sessions. With the the TechACCESS committee, Rayna conducted a needs assessment, entitled ‘Disability and Opportunity in the North Quabbin’, to identify the demographics of the disabled in our community and their needs. She organized two full days of accessibility trainings with Russ Holland of ATA for committee members and the public (‘Accessible Materials, Websites, Communication’; ‘Reaching Out & Including People with Disabilities’; ‘Accessible Facilities & Programs’; and ‘Accessible Computer Hardware & Software’). With knowledge gained from the workshops, the committee and staff worked with contractors and volunteers to remove physical barriers to YES facilities (bathroom grab bars, motion-activated light switches, lowered soap and towel dispensers, accessible sink faucets and doors handles); entryways (automatic door opener and entryway at sidewalk level); signage (neon signs, lit exit signs); classroom and cyber cafe (foldable, moveable tables and chairs); and computers (assistive hardware and software). Rayna worked with a disabled YES member to create an on-line resource directory for people with disabilities living and working in our region (including a list of businesses indicating which ones are wheelchair accessible, compiled after a telephone poll). Prior to Rayna’s early exit in January due to a medical condition, she attended an information session on the Town of Orange’s annual Community Development Block Grant program. She crafted a concept paper for the next phase of TechACCESS, which is to provide direct services beginning in mid-2008, building on the organizational capacity developed in 2007. Services include providing individualized career, educational and technological assessment, training, and support combined with and group classes to prepare up to 50 teens and young adults for economic self-sufficiency, with assistive technology playing a central role. On the strength of the concept paper, YES was invited to submit a proposal due in October and a full proposal due in November. TechACCESS-Orange was selected by the Town as its only social service project included in a $1M grant application to the MA Department of Housing and Community Development. If successful, the project will receive a $30,000 grant in early fall to support the program through December 2009. The TechACCESS committee members all wrote letters of support specifying the value of and need for the program, and continue to meet monthly.

Community Organizing and Wireless Network Deployment

VISTA Name: 
Melissa Niiya
Program Start: 
9/2009
Program End: 
9/2011
Project Description: 

The AmeriCorps*VISTA project we are proposing is a critical component of our community technology program to promote broadband deployment and adoption in the low income neighborhoods we serve. We seek to build the capacity of our wireless and wired networks that will be installed in our affordable housing projects through the development of a program that will distribute community-based resources (equipment, trainings, information), establish resident advisory committees, and deploy wireless networks.

Our AmeriCorps*VISTA member will support our initiative through community outreach, surveys, and technical support. Specifically, s/he will:

- Develop and implement community-based outreach strategies for community wireless adoption and participation.
- Collaborate with other project partners to develop outreach plans to expand our presence in the targeted communities.
- Develop educational resources for community technology staff and residents in the targeted communities.
- Coordinate and build the capacity of a community advisory committees in the targeted communities
- Organize, coordinate, and develop community education workshops delivered by volunteers on community wireless networks
- Develop sustainability models for the deployment of community wireless networks
- Coordinate volunteer efforts to plan and deploy neighborhood wireless networks
- Meet with technology center managers to coordinate community workshop activities
- Work with project partners to build the technology skills capacity of youth in South Los Angeles
- Develop a volunteer base of technology and community activists to support the deployment and sustainability of community wireless networks

Goal 1: Promote and increase the adoption of broadband within low-income communities
Goal 2: Build the capacity of deployed community Wi-Fi networks through community participation.

Project Outcome: 

The VISTA member has been instrumental in increasing the overall capacity of the Community Technology department. We now have documented standards and procedures for deploying residential and community Wi-Fi networks, as well as a track record and experience that can be used to provide technical assistance to other groups seeking to deploy similar Wi-Fi networks. We have compiled not only the technical procedures for wireless deployment but also a best practices guide, as we have learned from the challenges we’ve faced. The VISTA also helped to develop criteria and a process for selecting future contractors for our new networks. To ensure the sustainability of our networks we need to continue working with LTSC’s real estate and property management departments to develop a system for ongoing support and maintenance of the networks.

The VISTA member also assisted with grant writing, reporting and research to support and build the capacity of the Community Technology department. She also helped with program and curriculum development for the DISKovery Center’s digital media classes covering basic computer and internet skills to more advanced digital video editing and production. She also established a public access WiFi network at LTSC’s DISKovery Computer Center in Little Tokyo. The VISTA’s accomplishments in these areas seemed a natural addendum to the stated goals. She has proven herself to be highly competent in many areas and has therefore been given additional projects and responsibilities, as time and her own interests allowed. Since she is extremely self-motivated and is capable of accomplishing projects thoroughly and quickly, we were able to involve her in additional projects beyond what was proposed.

- Development of community and residential wi-fi resource materials made available online.
- Development and dissemination of publicity and outreach materials to promote the Little Tokyo community through flyers, a community blog developed by and for community wireless users, print materials and a community wi-fi website.
- Establishment of a community wireless blog to document the challenges and successes in deploying community wireless networks.
- Deployment of three new free community Wi-Fi networks in LTSC’s affordable housing communities. Accomplishments toward achieving stated goals:
- Curriculum developed for wifi trainings in the form of a wiki. The wiki was developed with some server assistance from Wataru Ebihara, LTSC’s Network Administrator.
- Resource materials developed for wifi users / volunteers / nonprofits wishing to start wifi networks, also on the wiki.
- Flyers for outreach developed with Spanish translation help from Sugey Salazar, computer instructor.
- Community blog developed using a free blogger account. The VISTA has worked to transition administration of the blog to the LT community council for its ongoing sustainability.
- Computer Adoption Program (CAP) program planned and organized, and additional wifi curriculum developed for the class
- 10 families served.
- Wifi deployed in the Reno Apartments using open source mesh routers from Open Mesh and broadband over power (BPL) technology to deploy a robust network at Reno. Switched Angelina Apartments to open source Open Mesh to enable better usage tracking.
- Usage tracking of Wi-Fi networks
- using free and open source tracking called CoovaOM, developed tracking methods and documentation for residential Wi-Fi networks.
- Developed a Request for Proposals for the development of 5 new broadband networks in affordable housing projects; developed criteria for selecting a proposal and oversaw selection of contractor for these new networks.

Second Year

While residents want broadband access, the majority are dissatisfied with wireless technology and the stability of the networks. With the support of LTSC staff, Melissa has helped move the organization toward a more sustainable model of providing residents with internet access (through wired DSL installation and through providing residents with information on low cost communications services). This plan was implemented in the latter half of her service year. Two of the current wireless networks were sold to an independent contractor, who will maintain a lower bandwidth free network while charging for a higher speed pay-to-play network. The remaining networks will be transitioned to an independent contractor after Melissa completes her service year.

While Melissa did not create a DIY computer curriculum due to shifts in program priorities, the other curricula she has created - Digital Histories film class, Internet Safety, Photoshop, and Social Media - will continue to be used in subsequent classes. Broadband Content Development Melissa has developed several websites for the organization, which have been instrumental in promoting our programs and services and raising our visibility. She also connected these sites to social media pages the create a seamless online presence. Melissa has made sure to document the websites she has created so that the organization will be able to maintain them. She has given trainings on Facebook and Joomla to the Little Tokyo Community Council and to LTSC staff.

Impact Quote: 

Thank you very much. We are sad to see Melissa and Tiffany go. They have contributed tremendously to our program and it is truly a loss to see them go.”

- Naomi Uchida-Boas, Supervisor

iConnect Project Developer

Organization: 
KNON Community Radio
VISTA Name: 
Mark Woodward
Program Start: 
7/2009
Program End: 
7/2010
Project Description: 

The CTC Vista volunteer will increase our capacity by providing the technical assistance to develop a new media training program, systems for volunteers to use an interactive website, and develop volunteers to become trainers themselves for future participants. The VISTA’s role is to help us through this transition and move KNON into a position where we can provide existing services in newer, more relevant forms. Once the project is completed, the additional volunteers, trainers, training tools, online protocols, online audience, and online tools will augment our community connections by making sure the station is as interactive as possible and acts as a community resource that uses the latest technology to give its listenership a voice in the community and the ability to affect positive change in their own environment.

The CTC Vista will be responsible for:
Work with volunteers to mae presentations to organizations serving lower-income and minority communities in DFW
Work with community members to conduct surveys to determine community media needs
Develop curriculum to train to community organizations and their members to utilize media tools including blogs, audio recording and editing, video recording and editing, and social networking.
Train volunteers to train additional community members to utilize media tools.
Work with volunteers to develop a community media campaign around one identified issue that will be used as a template for future issue campaigns
Develop protocols for volunteers to maintain the equipment and website for volunteer media work

Project Outcome: 

Mark developed a list of 100 community organizations and events in coverage area and Developed outreach material describing community media project and volunteer interest forms. Developed on-air announcements and recruited audience members for project Recruited participants from current audience, community advisory committee and existing volunteer p Surveyed existing volunteer usage of social media networks and other online tools Integrated KNON station brand into new station website, facebook and twitter. Established user interface for volunteers and staff to update station’s online presence Activity 3: New Media Training for Community Volunteers Develop ed training series for community members for blogging and video (youtube) origination, editing and uploading onto station webtools. Also developed social networking training. Mark did all of this by reaching out to those at the station and in our audience during meetings and on air. He was assited by KNON volunteers and staff

Fundraising web componants. Developed well and continues to help us in fundraising

Media Literacy Analysis and Curricula Development

Organization: 
Access Humboldt
VISTA Name: 
Sam Kaplan
Program Start: 
9/2010
Program End: 
9/2011
Project Description: 

The Corps member will survey the constituents of Access Humboldt, analyze the data, incorporate these key elements into our programs and curricula, and increase the awareness of the available resources.

Project Outcome: 

As a result of the Corps members service, new relationships with county media instructors and organizations have been created. Pre-existing relationships have been strengthened. Engagement with youth media makers has increased dramatically. Access Humboldt (AH) has contracted with a youth media instructor to work directly with students at the Community Media Center. (AH is located on a high school campus.) VISTA raised awareness on campus of the media resources available to students. VISTA built upon, strengthened, partnerships between AH and other community programs. These collaborations are key to sustainable programs. Still to be developed, a funding model for cash-strapped institutions.

The Corps member was also key in creating an opportunity to collaborate with a community radio partner arose with the passage of the Local Community Radio Act. Together with KMUD-FM, AH hosted Community Radio Day, a gathering of community radio leaders from around the county to share information and brainstorm future collaborations. Community members had an opportunity to participate in a Community Journalism workshop. VISTA developed two new social media tools for AH, a Miro website and a Twitter account. VISTA also revitalized an existing YouTube page. The goal of these activities was to attract more youth to AH programs.

Media Justice Organizer

Organization: 
Media Literacy Project
VISTA Name: 
Leticia Miranda
Program Start: 
9/2010
Program End: 
9/2011
Project Description: 

The Corps member will support Media Literacy Project’s media justice campaigns and public awareness efforts and ensure that the message and effort of the campaigns are connected and relevant to partners, members and constituents. The Corps member will also participate in all campaigns and will function as a liaison between MLP, campaign partners and will assist the Campaign Coordinator with implementing and revising as needed MLP’s campaign strategy, with conducting campaign evaluations, and with creating campaign curricula.

MLP’s campaigns for the 2010-2011 program year include the Prison Phones campaign, the Cell Phone Literacy campaign, and the continuation of their Universal Broadband and Network Neutrality campaign.

Project Outcome: 

In 2010 MLP wrote into our strategic plan the need to develop a strategic communications department for our organization. Leticia Miranda stepped in and helped us start that process. What has changed at MLP as a result of her activities includes: MLP’s website was being redesigned and Leticia provided helpful feedback during that process

–MLP has a lovely new website that we launched in January of 2011; MLP has always created monthly deconstructions and Leticia came up with the idea to do video deconstructions
–while we can’t do these every month, she created a process for when we do them 2 or 3 times a year; MLP’s newsletter was redesigned; MLP had an increased presence in the press as a result of the Op-Eds and press releases she wrote
–prior to her arrival we did not have press releases as often or of the same caliber; MLP’s reputation as a national player was elevated through the film Free the Air, which was an MLP response to a Verizon ad, directed by Leticia; we have a communications plan; we have new ideas and plans for our annual Girls Toolbox class and Girl Tech Collective as a result of her participation and insight; due to the success of MLP’s increased visibility we were contacted by a funder who offered to provide us monies for the next 2 years for a Strategic Communications Director. Leticia has worked with the new hire and the work will continue.

Impact Quote: 

Leticia not only accomplished the proposed project, she offered her skill set in other areas as needed. Challenges initially arose around the creation of a communications plan because MLP needed a new strategic plan for her to use. Once program goals were clarified, she was able to create the plan.

KONZ Internet Radio Developer

VISTA Name: 
Megan Andrews
Program Start: 
9/2010
Program End: 
9/2011
Project Description: 

The Corps member will develop and implement an online community radio station for the Manhattan, Kansas area called KONZ Internet Radio. The VISTA will help with fundraising, public awareness and education about the online station and what it can offer, oversee equipment purchases as well as beginning the process of recruiting and training volunteers to staff the station. The Corps member will create the foundation for future sustainability by helping provide the energy and the necessary day-to-day work.

Project Outcome: 

Megan’s job was to help create Konza Internet radio. When she started, the plan was to create an on-air radio station. Shortly after she started, it became apparent that we were not going to be able to raise the funds needed to purchase the equipment for the station. The Board of Directors decided to pursue an internet-based radio service as a way to keep the idea alive. Megan was able to quickly shift gears and use her skills to develop the service we are now using. As the result of Megan’s activities, UFM has a functioning, on-demand radio service that is being utilized by the community, the region and the world. We worked hard to develop a streaming station with a regular program schedule. We found that the streaming service did not work well with the talk format we were using. we also found than more people were downloading the programs rather than listening to them through the stream. Consequently, we have moved to an all on-demand radio service with downloads available in a variety of program areas. There are two areas that remain to be done to ensure sustainability. 1) we need to continue to recruit program hosts who can take the responsibility for adding regular content to the website. We are negotiating with two significant program areas that will expand offerings of interest not only our local residents, but our military families that may be deployed elsewhere in the world. 2) As our program content expands, we need to increase our marketing and community awareness. we also need to expand our website to include a comprehensive community calendar that will draw people to our website.

Community Engagement and Volunteer Coordinator

Organization: 
National Radio Project
VISTA Name: 
Karl Jagbandhansingh
Program Start: 
9/2010
Program End: 
9/2011
Project Description: 

The Corps member would provide the leadership and passion to coordinate and guide the many people who want to get involved with national Radio Project Currently, we are blessed to have a fairly steady stream of volunteers, yet we lack the capacity to coordinate the volunteers effectively. The Corps member will also play a critical role in reaching out to more economic justice groups who can advise us on key issues. We have been wanting to cultivate these relationships to deepen our beat, but have lacked the capacity to do so. The Community Engagement and Volunteer COordinator will play a vital role in our organization: managing volunteers, reaching out to grass roots economic justice organizations, and organizing events and house parties, with the support of other volunteers. They will deepen our networks among 3 major constituents: 1? Volunteers, 2) Donors, and 3) Grassroots Allies.

Project Outcome: 

Karl recruited, new fall, spring, and summer cohort of production and organizational interns and volunteers and:

– organized, and publicized a Fall “Happy Hour” event to build relationships with housing groups
–Organized, publicized, and recorded a Spring event: A Community Discussion on Gang Injunctions
–Supported production of several programs, including interviewing and recording participants for “Presumed Guilty: American Muslims and Arabs”
–Audio recorded events for rebroadcasting
–Trained interns/volunteers and set up systems for coordination of projects/tasks for interns/volunteers among staff.
–Full participated in staff meetings and staff retreats to determine strategic planning and direction of organization.

As a result of our corps member Karl’s activities, we’ve strengthened our volunteer recruitment strategies, refined our volunteer management systems, developed a deeper relationship with the local community radio station, and build stronger relationships with grassroots groups working on housing, prison, policing, and immigration issues. After Karl is done, we need to continue to stay in contact with grassroots groups via email so they know we are a media resource for them to get their stories heard.

Transmission Project