The last few months have brought about many new challenges for our seasoned VISTA veteran. Now fully operating under the umbrella of the CMC as my special staff person, Jason has worked on coordinating many of our Public Relations and Marketing efforts. He has been instrumental in establishing a presentation standard for CMC tours, which are happening more regularly under his watch. He has created a routine press release mailing that has resulted in continuing media interest and exposure in CMC activities.
Jason has been instrumental in coordinating the special events that CMC has sponsored or hosted. He has willingly shouldered the duty of making appearances at public functions as the CMC representative, recently meeting the esteemed Governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm, the morning after her State of the State Address.
Other special events include the nationally recognized educational broadcast of the JASON XIV Project. This weeklong workshop was at held at local gathering place Celebration Cinema where Jason led the CMC’s presence, reaching out to the youth of our community. This high-profile event that was attended by many of Kent County’s eight graders and was broadcast 24/7 on GRTV’s second channel LiveWire.
Most recently, Jason coordinated a visit from Detective Sullivan (Oprah Winfrey, the Today Show, and others have featured his new book and software), who teaches Cyber-Safety to school children and their parents. In addition to his interview during drive-time on WYCE 88.1FM, our sponsorship of his visit has resulted in exposure in the Grand Rapids Family Magazine.
Jason has helped the CMC become the production house for the statewide broadband mapping initiative “LinkMichigan.” He designed the LinkMichigan brochure and has recently taken over the large task of redesigning the “FREE Internet Access” brochure that includes a map, location, and hours for every public Internet Access site in Barry, Ionia, and Kent Counties. When finished, this brochure will be featured as part of a large marketing campaign funded by the state to promote already existing Internet Access sites and Community Technology Centers in the area.
The goals Kevin has been working on are:
1.Creating a strong network infrastructure that is affordable, stable and easy to manage for non-tech people.
2.Developing a website presence and plan for 3 local nonprofits.
3.Contributing to the development of a Computer Training book to teach Microsoft Office programs to adult learners. Progress has been made toward completing the Excel training.
In terms of capacity building, we have had the greatest success with goal 1. Kevin has been leading the project to transfer our network from a Windows to a Linux operating system, while training two staff members to be able to take on the technical duties when he leaves.
With regard to goal 2, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lowell site is essentially complete, although has not been launched due to decisions still to be made on the part of the club. Unfortunately, we fell short on this goal, which was to complete three sites by the end of Kevin’s term. . We hope to have Kevin create a template that can be used by other nonprofits that would like a website.
As a result of Kevin’s work on goal 3, we have a rough draft of the first part of a project based Excel training near completion, and hope to have the beta version done by Kevin’s departure.
We had two other goals Kevin was going to work on that we did not pursue. One was helping with the development of an information-interviewing library; the other was working on developing a volunteer program for the Lowell Community Technology Consortium.
Melissa Daigle’s VISTA assignment began with a focus on support for producing and developing the Community Technology Review, with secondary goals of overseeing initial contact and placement assistance to prospective VISTA applicants, and providing other CTC VISTA Project program support as may follow from these two other objectives and otherwise as needed. Over the course of her first last months, Melissa did very impressive work in all these arenas.
Melissa’s work in serving as Assistant Editor for the Community Technology Review online journal involved overseeing most communication with the authors; manuscript editing and development; online line production and design (a task she’s undertaken concurrent with learning to use online tools such as Dreamweaver); outreach; subscription management; and general systems and procedures development to insure a more smooth-running operation. She has laid some useful preliminary foundations for advertising and fundraising
Melissa’s work in overseeing the project’s outreach and information pages on the Corporation for National Service’s information web site and dealing with prospective program VISTAs has been organized and efficient. Through the late spring and summer, this extreme demands of this task involving communication not only with all VISTA applicants but with project supervisors can be appreciated by the fact that the CTC VISTA Project is the most popular in the entire CNS system. A combination of work in both these arenas lead to a natural taking on of project-wide development work involving support for Project VISTAs in numerous arenas, the most visible of which were her work in producing a VISTA-focused project newsletter (www.cpcs.umb.edu/vista/Newsletter) and overseeing/coordinating the project’s joint VISTA-Supervisor Advisory Committee. Along with her contributions to the monthly Boston-area VISTA meetings, serving on the “First Tuesday” television production team, filling the gaps and undertaking other initiatives for project support, Melissa’s leadership is generally recognized by both her peers and the project administration.
James Fishwick’s VISTA assignment began with a focus on development support for the Greater Boston Broadband Network, support for the growth of the College’s technology use by faculty and staff and in programs related to the Community Media and Technology program, and CTC VISTA project web site support. Over the course of his last six months, James continued to do very impressive work in all three areas and concluded his term of service by becoming the project’s VISTA Leader for a second year of service and attending VISTA Leader training at the end of August.
James took on major responsibility for CBC coordination, project web site development, and the monthly pilot cable and web cast “First Tuesday” program, undertaking the latter while serving as the Assistant Producer.Overall project coordination involved assisting with monthly meeting arrangements and follow through with subcommittee needs and support. Web site development included not only design and technical maintenance but content development as well. As Assistant Producer for “First Tuesday,” James undertook a wide range of tasks insuring smooth program production, including serving as live-time chat coordinator and on-camera contributor, set design, plant, and web cast coordination, and post-production assistance.
With regard to the College, James continued to provide a good range of support to individual faculty and programs and helped give visible, tangible testimony of the value of the Community Media and Technology program. In addition to special help to five faculty/programs, James assisted the CPCS IT Task Force, a committee dedicated to a thorough review of the current IT landscape at UMass and its effect on the college. The task force makes recommendations to the college on how to move on various IT issues, especially the establishment and subsequent development of the Clark Taylor Center. James has served as secretary to the committee and has helped to facilitate discussions on needs for the Center with CPCS faculty.
Finally, as the web master for the CTC VISTA Project itself (www.cpcs.umb.edu/vista), James initiated a number of design and content contributions that have contributed to the project’s aesthetic and programmatic presentation for VISTAs, supervisors, and the general public. His work with the VISTAs in encouraging and helping them develop their own web pages and resources, along with his moderation of the metroBoston and national CTC VISTA member electronic discussion lists and general communication have given him a major leadership status among his fellow VISTAs and in the overall project.
Susan’s responsibilities required her to split her time between two distinct projects (ScienceQuest and YouthLearn) and she has been wonderful in balancing the work. Susan has played a major role in enhancing the websites of both YouthLearn and ScienceQuest. She was responsible for developing new pages and for maintaining the integrity of existing pages. She played an important role in monitoring the usage statistics of the websites. Her responsibilities also included assisting ScienceQuest participants through a discussion list, and coordinating ScienceQuest trainings. Susan has assisted in the creation and production of YouthLearn’s e-newsletter. She also coordinated a number of special projects for the YouthLearn community, such as assisting applicants to the Beaumont Foundation Technology Grants.
The ScienceQuest work plan stayed true to the work Susan did for this project. She assisted with training, provided ongoing support, and documented progress of ScienceQuest teams. The original YouthLearn work plan was ambitious in the tasks outlined, and assumed a full-time VISTA would be placed with the project. Given that Susan has been splitting her time on two projects, tasks on the YouthLearn plan needed prioritizing. Those tasks have been core service enhancement, especially the Website and the electronic newsletter. She has also been involved in market development, by prospecting organizations and current events in the field of youth and technology, and representing YouthLearn at professional meetings. As YouthLearn has evolved quite a bit while Susan has been with the organization, other projects have been added to her responsibilities, such as assisting the communities with special initiatives, and researching the creation of printed publications.
Without the support of a VISTA member, we simply would not be reaching the numbers of people that we are today, nor with the level of support that we aim for. It has been an enormous boon to us to have Susan for the past year! After school programs and youth development professionals across the country (and world!) are reaching kids in ways that they might not be able to without these two projects.
• Provide supported open access to computer technology to a broad spectrum of the Lowell community (youth, seniors, immigrants)
• Provide training and tutoring to youth, senior citizens, and immigrant populations focussed on project-based, media-oriented uses of technology
• Provide technical support and help build the capacity of host sites to implement technology
• Assist in building, expanding and advocating for community uses of technology within the host site, particular and the larger Lowell community, in general
One of the most successful procedures that I implemented was to have all members and staff wear picture ID’s while in the facility. Since I had a little knowledge of digital photography it was easy for me to make the adjustments in our new database.
The second success story for me was to learn Facil database for non-profits and help teach the rest of the staff the functions of the database.This program is really great for the members because they now can reserve things in an orderly fashion and they get the feeling of being a greater part of the whole process. The community as a whole benefits from the installation of Facil.
My other accomplishments include mail server. I learned how to maintain the accounts on the e-mail server service and recently on our new list-server. I am now certified in Field Production. Who would have guessed.
I have managed to put up a web site, sparse as it may be, and to shoot and edit a thirty minute video for airing. The web site sort of took a back seat when I became involved in running a camera on a television show. My interest really peaked when staff members told me that I could do a show of my own. The patience and help of my co-workers enabled me to increase my knowledgeable in non linear editing. And with practice I am sure I’ll become proficient.
I am currently a Community Technology Center (CTC) VISTA working at BPSOS’s national headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia. Thus, the primary goal for this year of service is to assist in the management of a Community Technology Center: a centrally-located space providing technological access to community members who would otherwise not have said access.
Goal 1: Set up and operate CTC
Goal 2: Provide computer skills/ English skills to target population.
Goal 3: Assist community groups in setting up CTCs.
Goal 4: Produce a video on BPSOS CTCs/Survivor Services Dept.
Goal 5: Make the FAIR program self-sufficient
Goal 6: Establish an after-school mentoring programs for youth.
Goal 7: Create webpage for volunteer recruitment and development.
Goal 8: Contribute to BPSOS’s Domestic Violence Program, Housing programs, and national website
Goal 9: Acquire a client base for BPSOS’s publishing company
Between the months of September and December, I worked with my fellow VISTA, Co Kim Oanh, and my supervisor, Bach Pham, to reaffirm community contacts by recruiting volunteers, outreaching to prospective clients, and acquiring space for a CTC. While Bach worked with BPSOS’s IT guy to acquire computers, I focused on recruiting volunteers to teach a series of Computer Literacy/ESL classes to current BPSOS clients. Through websites and phone calls, we recruited a small group of 4-5 volunteers that agreed to teach ESL/Computer Literacy combo classes.
Goal 1: Maintain, organize and upgrade out CTC through developing an inventory system and updating our website.
Goal 2: Provide opportunities for FOTS students to use the FOTS computer center to improve typing and word processing skills and to learn to use the Internet by researching and implementing successful teaching tools for use at CTCs.
Goal 3: Implement an after-school computer literacy program
Goal 4: Train FOTS Teachers, Tutors and Parent To More effectively Use Educational Software to Enhance Student Academic Achievement
Goal 5: Develop public and private sector resources that will enable the project to continue after the Members leave.
Charlena helped to launched the new website in September 2002. It has been extremely helpful with fundraising and the recruitment of volunteers. Microsoft Access was used to create databases to track software, hardware, community and technology contacts, and student, tutor, and parent contacts. Each database has easy-to-use interfaces to update information.
Charlena created FOTS curricular resource binders based off of resources from Byte Back, SeniorNet, Triangle Coalition, Digital Newsroom, and a host of web-based programs. As a result, the FOTS curriculum is a pool of resources that can be manipulated and adapted to student need and class environment. Future VISTAS can rely on the curriculum binders and documented resources to create future classes.
Charlena assisted in keeping the computer center operated on a five-day week schedule. Basic computer literacy skills were addressed in computer classes and Open Lab. In the spring of 2003, classes concentrated on more advanced topics such as Lego robotics, Photoshop, spreadsheets, and web page design.
A website developed by corps member Brooke Brown-Saracino for her project, the Shires Media Citizen Press Corps.
Design and copy of a promotional products website for Grassroots.org by corps member Scott D’Antuono.