outreach

CTC Volunteer Coordinator

VISTA Name: 
Julia Smith
Program Start: 
1/2007
Program End: 
1/2008
Project Description: 

The CTC/VISTA member’s duties centered around four main concerns of MCL’s CTLC: Coordination of volunteers and students, developing resources and documenting progress, and assisting with public relations and awareness.

Her coordination duties included: recruiting and screening of potential tech tutors and students for the CTC at MCL; matching tutors with students seeking 1:1 help and scheduling small group computer instruction; and overseeing instruction – checking with tutors and students to ensure all was progressing well and giving support where needed.

Development of resources included: creating and implementing a quality training process for tech tutors, implementing assessment tools to measure student’s progress; collecting and organizing curriculum and activity ideas for use in the CTC; and researching instruction options for special needs populations such as the disabled, limited English proficient, and low-literate adults.

The documentation of progress included developing and implementing systems to collect student and volunteer data, and collecting and reporting data to the CTLC Project Manager. The VISTA member was also asked to assist with the planning and execution of public relation activities, research best practices at similar CTLCs, research funding opportunities, and serve as a member of MCL’s Technology Committee.

Project Outcome: 

The VISTA member developed a system for registering & assessing potential students, and implemented an already existing system for screening and orienting volunteer tech tutors. She successfully scheduled, oversaw, and supported small group computer instruction throughout her year of service (65 students enrolled in various small groups), and also weekly managed drop-in labs for all students. She successfully recruited qualified & dedicated volunteer tech tutors. She screened, oriented and supported those tutors and organized regular roundtable and recognition events for them. She began collecting and organizing curriculum and activity ideas for use in the CTC and developed a syllabus and curriculum for limited English proficient, immigrant students. She completed a draft of MCL’s CTC Operation Manual. She collected and reported volunteer and student data. As part of our public relations efforts, she developed contacts in the community with the local radio station, local cable company, Senior Center, and Employment Security Office (Work Source).

Working with our Americorps member, the VISTA member produced a useful novice level curriculum for ESL students. This will enable our limited English proficient immigrant students to begin learning computer skills as they are learning English.

Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator

VISTA Name: 
Victoria Edwards
Program Start: 
6/2007
Program End: 
6/2008
Project Description: 

Victoria was responsible for developing a new co-op model for building capacity in CTC’s, collaborating with partner agency to address hardware and software needs, recruiting volunteers to sustain co-op members and new VISTA’s for the project, conducting community relations and exhibiting at events, and developing conferences for the community technology field. CTI used its previous mapping of CTC’s to target seven organizations to support through the co-op. Victoria conducted TechAtlas assessments for each organization and used these sophisticated assessment tools to determine how to allocate different resources. These accounts identified technical weaknesses in each CTC through the basic assessments, and also illustrated the technical, staffing and funding nuts and bolts behind running a CTC for program directors. This information was given to the program directors, and after the initial assessment CTI helped develop a comprehensive Technology Plan of Action based around Tech Atlas recommendations and the CTC’s own mission statement and priorities. Victoria recruited volunteers to deal with specific problems that Tech Atlas had identified.

Project Outcome: 

Two conferences were organized to serve the funding, advocacy, and planning needs of nonprofit technology organizations (Jan. and June 08). The conferences established a platform for joint advocacy and inter-agency relations for nonprofits, positioning them in relation to the Donor’s Forum, Knight Foundation, and related initiatives such as OneCommunity and Florida 2.0. Through the conferences and community relations, positive relations were established and maintained with key partners such as InternetCoast, OneCommunity, and Florida 2.0. Through the co-op Victoria helped to establish a new CTC lab (Hialeah Gardens), strengthen existing programs, increase communication and collaboration between participants. Assessments were conducted with Crossfire, Cutler Bay Parks and Recreation, Inner City Youth, Center for Independent Living, WeCount (Cutler Bay), WeCount (Homestead) and the North Miami Beach Intel Clubhouse. Volunteers were recruited through Refresh Miami meetings and various online sources, and the first volunteer orientation took place in June 08. These activities were the culmination of planning and outreach that began in November 07, when the co-op strategy was initially developed. As a result of positive progress on these fronts, Victoria was hired by Collins Center to work jointly with the initiative and with InternetCoast.

CTC’s expressed appreciation and volunteered to write support letters for the project. Key partners likewise expressed appreciation for the work of the project and have made plans for ongoing collaboration. The most illustrative story is that InternetCoast asked Victoria if she would be willing to coordinate their own program activities, and together we developed a jointly funded position for 2008-09 that will enable Victoria to coordinate the work of nonprofit and for-profit technology sectors, and to better develop linkages between the two.

Website Development and Asset Mapping

VISTA Name: 
Kevin Bulger
Program Start: 
1/2007
Program End: 
1/2008
Project Description: 

1) Update and maintain CTC asset mapping database.
2) Participate in providing technical support to the South Florida Regional Equitable Connection project.
3) Research on sustainable best practices relevant to community technology the South Florida region and written report.
4) Provide technical assistance to CTC’s in the region.
5) Conduct focus groups in low-income neighborhoods.
6) Assist with policy research activities.
7) Participate in other capacity and consensus building activities.

Project Outcome: 

Kevin Bulger was responsible for very successfully assisting the technical and organizational development of the South Florida Regional Equity website with the co-supervision of a Collins Center staff. He assisted with the asset mapping of some 212 South Florida region community technology programs and access locations. He was also involved in policy and planning initiatives related to community efforts such as Wireless Miami Beach. Kevin assisted in writing grants for CTI and researched available grants. When Victoria Edwards began her service, additional grants were written and the asset mapping of agencies continued with the two VISTA’s working together on these projects. Meetings with agencies led to the development of the concept of creating memberships and co-op services to CTC’s and access projects in the region. Meetings have taken place with a number of community organizations to assist in securing and deploying volunteers as an element of co-op services. A conference event for 30 CTC’s and related organizations was organized in January 2008. Both VISTA’s have come up with some excellent and innovative ideas and concepts for the project, which would often be integrated into grants, or service concepts that have been incorporated into the co-op plan for CTC’s. It was decided to eliminate the work on focus groups to instead center efforts around working with provider agencies on the co-op services concept.

Kevin’s diverse organizational skills allowed him not only to help develop a web portal for equity resources (www.sflregionalequity.org), but encouraged the project director to involve him in a series of follow-up activities including newsletter and conference development. Following his service (ending late Jan.), his value is demonstrated by his being hired for part-time work by another hosted initiative operating under the Collins Center. While not all objectives were accomplished in the program year, Kevin’s ethic and value are further confirmed by his continuing part-time volunteerism on the project after his service has ended.

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.

Education Specialist

VISTA Name: 
Sara McCoy
Program Start: 
6/2001
Program End: 
6/2002
Project Description: 

To coordinate the program designed for expanding and sharing Internet access in the community; assist in developing computer/Internet educational programs for school and community use. To provide setup and management of computers in the community; work with the senior citizen mentor program to provide ongoing training and model life-long learning and proved access to the Internet in the home through a computer loan program. Work with and provide leadership to other staff members who assist with the KCnet Computer/Internet Education Program.

Tasks may include, but are not limited to, teaching, creating news releases, reports and charts pertaining to current and projected program, assistance with 5-year business plan, maintenance of the member database and daily contact with program participants.

Project Outcome: 

Coordination of educational program. Increased attendances and increased class income from $3,200 to $8,000 per year.

CTC Outreach and Training

VISTA Name: 
Mary Fisher
Program Start: 
6/2001
Program End: 
6/2002
Project Description: 

The anticipated outcome of the project is that an increased number of Greater Lansing citizens will gain access to computers and be able to utilize technology and information to improve their economic, social and political lives. The Project will result in participants getting better jobs, their children getting better grades in school and the community benefiting from a better informed, more involved citizenry.

The VISTA workers will engage in outreach activities designed to involve members of the target populations in the program. They will teach participants how to use computers, how to upgrade computers and how to access and utilize the internet to improve their lives.

CTC Implementation and Program Building

Organization: 
Boat People SOS - Virginia
VISTA Name: 
James Nguyen
Program Start: 
4/2001
Program End: 
4/2002
Project Description: 

BPSOS’s project ACCESS, Access to Computers for Community Empowerment, Support and Services, hopes to improve English fluency and the acquisition of computer skills in the low-income community. The VISTA members will work on the following tasks:

1. Work with community groups to identify youth needing the service and mobilize their participation in the program.
2. Set up neighborhood-based classes. This involves identification of additional resources to support these classes (such as donated computers, text books, class space, supplies).
3. Teach ESL and computer classes. This will include tailoring existing class materials to the needs of the target population.
4. Recruit, train, and coordinate volunteers to serve as instructors and mentors.
5. Encourage parents to take part in the education of their children.

CTC Implementation and Program Building

Organization: 
Boat People SOS - Virginia
VISTA Name: 
Nhan Le
Program Start: 
2/2001
Program End: 
11/2001
Project Description: 

BPSOS’s project ACCESS, Access to Computers for Community Empowerment, Support and Services, hopes to improve English fluency and the acquisition of computer skills in the low-income community. The VISTA members will work on the following tasks:

1. Work with community groups to identify youth needing the service and mobilize their participation in the program.
2. Set up neighborhood-based classes. This involves identification of additional resources to support these classes (such as donated computers, text books, class space, supplies).
3. Teach ESL and computer classes. This will include tailoring existing class materials to the needs of the target population.
4. Recruit, train, and coordinate volunteers to serve as instructors and mentors.
5. Encourage parents to take part in the education of their children.

CTC Assistance

VISTA Name: 
Megan Cherry
Program Start: 
5/2001
Program End: 
7/2001
Project Description: 

BPSOS’s project ACCESS, Access to Computers for Community Empowerment, Support and Services, hopes to improve English fluency and the acquisition of computer skills in the low-income community. The VISTA members will work on the following tasks:

1. Work with community groups to identify youth needing the service and mobilize their participation in the program.
2. Set up neighborhood-based classes. This involves identification of additional resources to support these classes (such as donated computers, text books, class space, supplies).
3. Teach ESL and computer classes. This will include tailoring existing class materials to the needs of the target population.
4. Recruit, train, and coordinate volunteers to serve as instructors and mentors.
5. Encourage parents to take part in the education of their children.

Job Skills Program Development

VISTA Name: 
Jannette Peterson
Program Start: 
6/2001
Program End: 
6/2002
Project Description: 

The long range goals of the project are to provide affordable technology-based access and training to low income residents of the Downtown / Little Tokyo area and LTSC CDC’s low income housing projects; to support and help develop the community technology capacity among other API agencies; and to function as a comprehensive community technology resource for area residents.

The AmeriCorps VISTA member will be assigned to help oversee the computer job skills development program. This would include outreach activities and identifying candidates among LTSC CDC’s housing projects and the Downtown/Little Tokyo areas. He/She will also be responsible for developing the program curriculum, forming relationships with corporate partners for job placement opportunities, delivering the course training, and providing participant support during open access periods. Other responsibilities will include the training and coordination of our volunteers to assist in classroom instruction.

Transmission Project