An online, interactive map of Humboldt County digital media resources by corps member Sam Kaplan.
Visit the map here.
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.
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.
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.
Goal 1: Increase the capacity of rural communities and the organizations that serve them to utlize new information technologies for community development endeavors.
Goal 2: Assist in maintaining and improving on organization’s technology capacity
Goal 3: Develop and maintain a housing policy clearinghouse and searchable database for communities and community based organizations that are looking to adopt policies that will increase the stock of decent affordable housing.
In February Cal Rural Housing completed working on a 3 month project with Fresno County Community Development Division in which we provided technical assistance in developing an electronic database to track their CDBG expenditures. The County had never tracked these expenditures other then in a word document. Rebecca inputted the information we obtained in a word document into Excel, analyzed, charted and developed maps for the department. We then provided maps for a presentation to the Board of Supervisors that shows expenditures by community and by district (attached). The County should now be able to more easily track Federal funding using this database and produce charts and map in a more timely fashion. Rebecca spent a majority of her time revamping our website and upgrading our Rural Toolbox. She upgraded our old site using Drupal and developed a searchable database of more than 130 California Inclusionary Housing programs, the first of its kind in the US. The database provides summaries of characteristics for each policy. Users are able to search for these summaries by jurisdiction name or by more than 30 other variables. Rebecca also developed an introductory tutorial on using open-source desktop GIS (MapWindow) that can be used as either a GIS viewer or an advanced should be live by August-September.