A Video & Social media Wiki developed by corps member Mike Ewing which acts as an overview of tools and strategies nonprofits can use to produce and distribute videos over the Internet. This includes a discussion of the use of social media and video by nonprofits generally and specific step-by-step instructions on how to distribute videos online.
Link to Wiki:
This project would involve an update of SoFAB’s website. This would include the integration of the e-commerce site, blog, twitter and Facebook components, the newsletter, developing the e-zine, collections, and the wiki of Southern Food. This would make the marketing of SoFAB more modern and direct. It would mean that we will reach more members of the community who can become involved with SoFAB and its programs.
The VISTA member would be helping SoFAB “catch up” and would train the appropriate staff to maintain and continue to update the technical capacity of the organization. In-person training, as well as a training manual, would be a legacy that would build the capacity of the organization.
- Work with the webmaster and various appropriate staff members to implement the technology necessary to achieve the goals of integration, improved content and improved marketing.
- Make recommendations and suggestions to the staff, based on the volunteer’s observations, skill and experience.
First, because of her willingness to become a part of the organization, and secondly, because of her knowledge and understanding of the technology, Kelsey became integral to our planning process, helping us to make choices and actually use the advances in technology in new ways. She dragged us into thinking in new ways about what we were doing, so that now our entire culture has changed into being not only more modern, more attuned to technology, but also in now thinking to include new technologies in all of our projects and in our actions. This was a major cultural shift, accomplished by the example and encouragement of our VISTA member.
1. An update of SoFAB’s website, including the integration of the e-commerce site and blog. This goal was completely accomplished, except that we have merely archived the old blog and have begun to use our Facebook account instead.
2. Twitter and Facebook components were established.
3. The newsletter, developing the e-zine, collections, and the wiki of Southern Food have all been advanced.
4. Our website was entirely redesigned and completely updated and reorganized. Our VISTA member was the primary person behind all of this, assisted by summer interns and other volunteers.
Kelsey continues to refine the projects that she worked on last year and to prepare a video game regarding children and nutrition.
“Kesley dragged us into thinking in new ways about what we were doing, so that now our entire culture has changed into being not only more modern, more attuned to technology, but also in now thinking to include new technologies in all of our projects and in our actions. This was a major cultural shift, accomplished by the example and encouragement of our VISTA member.”
Liz Wiliams, Supervisor
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.
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.
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.
“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
Saul was the VISTA Leader for the 2004 - 2005 Program year and worked to manage, motivated, and connect all the Digital Arts Service Corps members out in the field. Saul also worked to redesign the DASC website and implement a better system for VISTAs to record and share their experiences online.
VISTAs have not had an easy time keeping in touch with each other, both during and after service. In some cases certain personal information wasn’t even kept on file, such as a home telephone number. I created a global addressbook last year and incorporated it into the redesigned VISTA website this year. Alumni and current VISTAs now have a simple facility on the Project website to share their information as well as access other VISTAs’ information. In enhancing VISTA alumni resources and communications the VISTA Leaders wrote a form letter to all past alumni announcing the creation of a new CTC VISTA alumni connections mailing list (January), which also served to connect alumni to the great CTC VISTA directory networking resource. We plan to use this addressbook to periodically send a newsletter to alumni and hold reunions.
Assistant Director Paul Hansen and I worked collaboratively to re-launch the VISTA website (http://www.cpcs.umb.edu/vista/), creating a mock-up on a development server before going live with the re-design. In addition to migrating the directory pages off the development server, I replaced the static roster listings (current VISTAs, alumni, all VISTAs, and organizations) with dynamic database- backed pages, laying the groundwork for a recruiting system in which potential supervisors can add and edit VISTA job descriptions directly on the website. (The rosters do not at present list who is a second- or third-year VISTA, and it does not indicate any special titles for people, like VISTA Leader, for example).
Developed enhanced VISTA resources. One of the biggest challenges any group of short-term workers faces is the loss of knowledge when the staff turns over. In an effort to combat the lack of knowledge retention between VISTA “classes,” Dan
Schackman and I erected a resource wiki on the Project website. A wiki is “a website that allows users to add content, as on an Internet forum, but also allows anyone to edit the content” (WikiPedia.org). The wiki technology is widely deployed across the Internet and was chosen for its ability to cater to both novice and advanced Internet users. Dan and I created a modest framework though which VISTAs and non-VISTAs alike can contribute to and maintain a database of resources exclusively targeted to CTC VISTAs. Dan and I fleshed it out with resources provided by VISTAs David Johnson and Michelle Rogers. I feel the wiki will serve as an effective tool enabling VISTAS to have greater participation
The Community Technology Review website (www.comtechreview.org) was beefed up and migrated from an obsolete web server to a server which hosts all other CPCS website properties (CPCS, VISTA, CBC, etc.). Of note are the new comment approval system and the PayPal order page. The comment page will ease the approval process for user-submitted comments, and the order page will streamline CTR hardcopy purchases which can now be handled with a credit card. I also trained Dan Schackman to use the administration interface and made some minor code changes for the Winter 2005 issue.
Finally, I became savvy with Final Cut Pro and edited a couple of small VISTA project videos for distribution on the web (http://www.cpcs.umb.edu/vista/video/). I massaged the swearing in footage for the 2004-05 crop of VISTAs originally shot on September 1 by former VISTA Leader James Fishwick, featuring US Representative Barney Frank and UMass/Boston Chancellor Keith Motley. A couple more projects have been added to the archives, including a Liz Cavano’s half-hour “What’s a VISTA” (2001) and Scott Hillier’s “CTC VISTAs: A Day in the Life” (2003).
The past few months haven’t been spent exclusively glued to a keyboard and monitor. I spoke at Faneuil Hall in October on AmeriCorps Opening Day, an ambassador of the CTC VISTA Project. A number of situations arose with a few VISTAs, some of whom I tried to help with varying degrees of success. For my part I served as a liaison with a VISTA in Minnesota, who ended up leaving the program after transferring from her first assignment and failing to make her second assignment work; I supported two VISTAs in Massachusetts, one in California, and one in North Carolina who had some conflicts with their supervisors and another experiencing some serious interpersonal conflicts with one of her co-workers. These situations have been very time and energy intensive, requiring frequent and detailed communication with VISTA support staff and the involved parties.
On a related front of Project responsibility, I assumed coordinating responsibilities for the monthly meetings among the Boston VISTAs, ensuring an agenda, chairperson, and minute-taker for every meeting as well as editing and posting the minutes
During the 05-06 project year, Saul’s supervisor said the following:
Saul has continued to lend his considerable technical skills to a number of projects– some to the benefit of the college others to the benefit of the Project. The addition of the reporting system to the Project’s ‘online application system’ has been an enormous help and was pulled-off pretty much without a hitch. Reports were submitted by participating organizations largely on-time! This was unheard of in the past and represents a huge leap forward in efficency. He continues to work on the application system. Currently he is revising it so that organizations can have and access more than one application– for multi-year projects. This revision is proceeding slowly however. In the role of VISTA Leader (and as the Leader of the other Leaders) Saul has performed well. Communication between the Leaders could be better (more frequent perhaps) but the improvement over previous years has been considerable largely due to his coordinating efforts which began well before the August 2005 PSO. Saul also plays a vital role as the person whom I bounce my ideas off of. As I often have bad ideas, the value of this cannot be underestimated.
A wiki for LTSC’s affordable housing wifi system developed by corps member Melissa Niiya.
A wiki detailing the wireless networks deployed for LTSC by corps member Melissa Niiya. Visit http://wiki.ltsc.org/index.php?title=Main_Page.