Friday, August 31, 2012

The Happiness Project

One of the blog readers was going to read The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun this summer.   Have you read it?   What are your thoughts?   Please leave a comment.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Like the sound of rain?

I love the sound of rain and raining.fm/ brings the soothing sound to you whenever you want.

A gem of an outreach and event promotion tool

GregsListDC is a terrific resource for those who are looking for something to do.   It does, after all, take
the guesswork out of the DC social scene.   From fundraisers to fashion shows, embassy events to eateries, happy hours to hotel happenings---this site highlights fabulous and fresh functions that you won't find listed just anywhere.

But the site is also great for promoting your organization's event.   If you are having a fundraiser or other event, email the details to Greg, the Greg's List guy.   To increase your chance of having your event included, send all the details in text.   Feel free to send a link to the event announcement online, but be sure to do all the work for this great bunch of GL volunteers!   GL does not guarantee that all submissions will be posted; but I think it's worth a shot.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Channel 16 gets a facelift and new name

An announcement from the Office of Cable Television:
DC OFFICE OF CABLE TELEVISION REBRANDS TV-16 AS DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA NETWORK (DCN)
DCN COMBINES NEW LOOK AND PROGRAMS WITH OCT’S AWARD-WINNING CONTENT

(WASHINGTON, DC) – The DC Office of Cable Television (OCT) announced today plans to refresh TV-16's programming and brand by embracing a new name and bold new look that appeals to residents who seek government, public affairs and lifestyle programming. Building on 27 years of government programming and strong audience growth, TV-16 is evolving into the District of Columbia Network (DCN).

"The District of Columbia is vibrant and thriving, and that is reflected in DCN’s bold new look, feel, and content," said Mayor Vincent C. Gray. "The rebrand of the channel was a collaborative process involving feedback from District residents, government and education programming experts, and the OCT team. Together, we created a product that is informative, educational and entertaining."

Formally known as TV-16, the District of Columbia Network (DCN) will provide visual content regarding the many programs, services, and opportunities made available by the District of Columbia government. DCN will supply its viewers with an all access pass to the District government by presenting Mayoral press conferences, agency policy statements, and current discussions around the Washington region. The channel will also explore history, education, entertainment and arts and culture in the nation’s capital.

The new DCN logo is a strong, classic red circle with the word "DCN" accented on a clean white background. The logo was retooled to fit more effectively in multi-platform campaigns like holidays, current events, and special occasions in the District. The channel rebrand will go into effect on-air and online on September 5 with all-new productions including The Sound, The District Dish, and The Kalb Report. New programs focused on public affairs and current events will also premiere, including Uptown/Downtown, a new series featuring positive stories about people, communities and businesses in the District that are the life blood of our city; yet they often flourish without recognition behind the headlines. Additionally, DCN’s tagline will be "All DC. All The Time."

"This rebrand positions DCN as the destination for all things Washington and will enhance our ability to be a trusted resource for residents, the business community, and tourists," said OCT Director Eric E. Richardson.

WAMU is looking for great policy ideas

WAMU's Public Insight Network is looking for suggestions from across the country that transcend partisan politics and improve our quality of life, but don't require more spending or taxes.   Submit your idea using this online form or via email.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Exciting event about client engagement at Bread for the City

You're Invited to the Premiere Presentation of...

The Front Line: The Emergence of Client Engagement at Bread for the City

Thursday, September 6, 4:30 - 6:30 pm

Bread for the City Northwest Center (1525 7th St NW)
Shaw/Howard Green Line, G2, G8, 64, 70s, 96

Come from 4:30 - 5:30 pm to enjoy networking, refreshments, and interactive displays on Client Engagement. From 5:30 - 6:30 pm, Bread for the City's Community Researchers will lead a presentation and discussion of what they learned from six months of research to answer the question, "What does engagement, empowerment, and assistance mean to clients and how do we do that?"

RSVP to Judy Hawkins via email or (202) 587-0533. Child care and bus tokens are available if requested.

Mayor Gray takes on campaign finance reform

Mayor Vince Gray and Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan will announce their campaign finance reform proposal August 28 at 2:30 pm in the JAWB Mayor’s Press Briefing Room (Room G-9).

According to the advisory:

BACKGROUND: Earlier this year, Mayor Gray asked Attorney General Nathan to draft comprehensive campaign-finance-reform legislation to provide additional safeguards against even the appearance of corruption. In June, Attorney General Nathan testified before a D.C. Council committee on the Mayor’s views on reform legislation. He said a package of proposed reforms would address "pay-to-play" issues, strengthen disclosure requirements, ban lobbyists’ bundling contributions, establish regulations designed to stop evasion of campaign-finance rules through the use of money orders, and call for greater enforcement resources to be provided to the Office of Campaign Finance. The Mayor and Attorney General will release and discuss the draft legislation, which will be sent to the Council next month after a period for public comment.

If you are unable to make it to the Wilson Building, you can watch the event live on the District of Columbia Network (DCN), formally known as TV-16.   (More on the TV-16 to DCN transition on the blog August 29.)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Information sessions on Deferred Action start August 28

Ayuda has just announced an additional three question and answer sessions on Deferred Action.   The sessions will take place at 4:00 pm on three Tuesdays starting August 28 (August 28, September 4, September 11), with individual screenings to follow.   More information in Spanish (PDF).   More information in English (PDF).

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Empower DC organizing to save public schools

An announcement from Empower DC:
The 2012-2013 school year will be a telling year for the future of Public Education in D.C. Many schools are threatened with closure and the Privatization of Public Education continues to grow unchecked. Students, Parents, Teachers and Community members need to continue fighting for control and improvement of our Public Education System.

At this meeting we will plan what we need to do this year to fight school closures. We will also be talking about opportunities to connect with grassroots organizations from around the country that are calling for a National Moratorium on any school closures and plan to have a day of action here in DC.

When: Tuesday September 4, 2012
Time: 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Where: Dorothy Height/Benning Library (3935 Benning Rd NE)

Contact Daniel with any questions or concerns (202) 234-9119 ext. 104 or via email.

DCPS beautified August 25

On August 25, 4,000 folks volunteered to beautify DC Public Schools as part of the system's annual event.   Check out tweets, pictures, videos, and more in Beautifying DC Public Schools August 25, the event Storified.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Washington Peace Center has resources for you

The Washington Peace Center has resources the community can use.   Some can be used for free, others require payment.

What does WPC offer?   Full color printer/copier, sound system for activist events, stages for events, bullhorns and small portable speaker for marches and smaller rallies, political movies to borrow for activist events, geodesic Yurt dome, and a projector for movie screenings or making banners (details here).

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

America’s Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2012

The annual data report America’s Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2012 (PDF) is now out.   The report includes summaries of data in seven domains: family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health.   The main report link houses the summary and additional data tables.

The report has been published each year since 1997 by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics.

Amazing brownies

One look at the picture and decided I HAD to make a batch of these brownies.   Am I ever glad I did!   The brownies are heavenly and super easy to make.   Give them a try; you won't be disappointed.

Picture from Smitten Kitchen's My Favorite Brownies recipe.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Have you told the DC government what you think?

Residents and stakeholders should jump on these three opportunities for input into District government programs and practices.

The DC government has two surveys open. The first is about improving the utility of the annual Children’s Budget report.   The second is about your experience calling 211 on a cell phone (available in English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Amharic, and Vietnamese).

There's also a survey inquiring about what residents and stakeholders want to know about the city's budget process.

The surveys close by mid-September so be sure to participate soon.

Community meetings about the history of Ward 8

Ward 8 CM Marion Barry is holding several community meetings to talk about the history and boundaries of neighborhoods in Ward 8.   Data, such as this Ward data in the 2011 Indices, A Statistical Index to District of Columbia Services, only tells part of the story of neighborhoods, Wards, and the community.
Wednesday, August 22 at 6:30 pm
Department of Housing and Community Development (Housing Resource Center, 1800 Good Hope Rd SE. This is at the corner of Good Hope Rd and MLK Jr. Ave SE.)

Wednesday, September 5 at 6:30 pm
Hadley Hospital (4601 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave)

Thursday, September 20 at 6:30 pm
Emmanuel Baptist Church (2409 Ainger Pl SE)

The map was created by Dcmacnut.

Monday, August 20, 2012

August 30 forum "Secure Communities & Deferred Action"

The Office on African Affairs (OAA), the DC Commission on African Affairs (DCCAA), and the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) are hosting a community forum on immigration August 30 from 5:50 - 9:00 pm at the Reeves Center.

"Secure Communities & Deferred Action" features a discussion about forum to discuss the mayoral mandate on secure communities and the presidential mandate on deferred action for childhood arrivals.

RSVP here for this free event.

Hone your advocacy skills with Communications for DC Advocates

If the answer is yes, Communications for DC Advocates: How-to's and lessons learned over 15 years is for you.

This 40-page guide is full of how-tos, tips, and advice about writing letters and testimony, participating in meetings with DC Council and executive branch staff, and making phone calls.   But there's much more in the guide; take a look at the table of contents:

Section I: Writing to the Mayor and members of the DC Council, and ANCs
Section II: Writing to appointed officials
Section III: Preparing testimony and statements for the record
Section IV: Delivering testimony
Section V: After the hearing
Section VI: Executive branch agency hearings
Section VII: Commenting on proposed/emergency regulations
Section VIII: Fact sheets
Section IX: Meeting with elected and appointed officials
Section X: Briefing elected and appointed officials
Section XI: Meeting with legislative and executive branch staff
Section XII: Phone calls to elected officials
Section XIII: Facility tours
Section XIV: The value of nice
Section XV: Conclusion
Section XVI: Resources and extras

Start honing your skills today.   Buy the guide here for only $35.

Friday, August 17, 2012

What do you think about shelter and housing in DC?

Whatever you think about shelter and housing in DC, you should tell it to the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless at their two community fora, August 21 and August 23.

Talk about shelter August 21 and about housing August 23.   Details about the events, including how to RSVP and request accommodations, are in the event flier.

Be sure to share this information with clients.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Got an idea to expand broadband in DC?

Are you interested in helping underserved populations access and use broadband Internet?   Have creative ideas to make broadband available and used?

The Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) has just announced a funding opportunity for the DC-BETA project (DC Broadband Education, Training, and Adoption).   According to the announcement,

The DC-BETA subgrant will support OCTO’s Digital Inclusion Initiative—also known as Connect.DC—by funding projects aimed at OCTO seeks applicants that provide creative and strategic solutions to increase sustainable broadband adoption among the small business community. DC-BETA is made possible by the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The RFA will be released August 20 and the submission deadline is September 20.

The SpeedMatters piece Survey: Wireless No Substitute For Wired Broadband highlighted the challenges associated with cell phone use for non-call uses identified in the April 2012 Pew report Mobile Phone Problems.   Pew reported nearly 90% of Americans own mobile phones and more than half use the phones for Internet searches, reading email, and the like.   However,

"77% of cell internet users say they experience slow download speeds that prevent things from loading as quickly as they would like. Of those cell internet users, 46% face slow download speeds weekly or more frequently."

Most surprising is the racial and ethnic divide.

"Non-white cell owners confront all four problems at somewhat higher weekly rates than do their white counterparts… For instance, more than half of Hispanic cell internet users (53%) face slow download times at least weekly or more often, compared with 44% of white cell internet users who report this problem."

It may be that these groups, which include a higher proportion of low-income people, purchase cheaper, poorer service. But Pew offered another explanation. The phenomenon:

"… might be tied to the fact that African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely than whites to rely on their cell phones as their primary or exclusive phones for calling and for internet access."

Mayor Gray on NewsTalk August 16

Mayor Vince Gray will make an hour-long appearance on NewsTalk August 16 from 10:00 - 11:00 am.   Tune in to NewsChannel 8 streaming here: http://news8.net/.   If you have questions or comments for NewsTalk guests, call (703) 387-1020 or email between 10:00 -11:00 am.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Make a call for Parkinson's

Wouldn't it be great if you could participate in an important medical study with no poking or prodding?   Well now you can with a three-minute phone call.

The Parkinson's Voice Initiative is collecting voices of those with and without Parkinson's Disease.   Test creator Max Little explains how the voice test works in the TED Talk video below.   But know that all recordings are non-identifiable and no personal information is stored.

The initiative's goal is to gather 10,000 recordings from around the world.   Let's help this project reach its goal.

Two senior level positions open at Safe Shores

Safe Shores has two senior positions open: Clinical Services Director and Victim Services Director.

The Clinical Services Director

is responsible for the day-to-day leadership and functions of the Clinical Services Program and for implementing its goals of providing trauma-focused mental health interventions with child victims, their siblings, and non-offending family members and providing clinical consultation to the multi-disciplinary team (MDT) that investigates child sexual and physical abuse cases in the District of Columbia. As a senior level manager, the Clinical Services Director is expected to guide and advance the mission of the organization in all ways, including communications -- with volunteers, staff, MDT members and individuals outside the organization -- and to contribute to creating and maintaining a positive, productive and constructive working environment.

The Victim Services Director

is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Victim Services Program and for achieving its goal of ensuring the highest quality of advocacy and services to child victims, their siblings, and their nonoffending caregivers/family members. As a senior level manager, the Victim Services Director is expected to guide and advance the mission of the organization, particularly in all communications with volunteers, staff, multi-disciplinary team (MDT) members, donors and other community members, and to contribute to maintaining a positive, productive and constructive working environment.

Details about the jobs, including deadlines for applying, are on the Safe Shores employment opps page.

CM Brown guests on NewsTalk today at 10a

CM Michael Brown will talk about changes in DC Council leadership and members' return from recess in mid-September.   Tune in today at 10:00 am on NewsChannel 8 streaming here: http://news8.net/.   If you have questions or comments for NewsTalk guests, call (703) 387-1020 or email between 10:00 -11:00 am.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ivy City protest at Union Station August 15

From Empower DC:
This is a Call to Action as we move forward with our lawsuit against the Mayor and the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation to HALT the construction of the parking lot for 65 Charter Buses at the historic Alexander Crummell School

JOIN US AS WE PROTEST THE UNION STATION MASTER PLAN OPEN HOUSE "BILLIONS FOR UNION STATION, BUS FUMES FOR IVY CITY" JOB TRAINING NOT BUS PARKING AT CRUMMELL SCHOOL

The Union Station Redevelopment Corporation, Amtrak and Akridge Development will be holding a Public Open House for the Union Station Master Plan, which includes the location of "offsite" charter bus parking in Ivy City

Wednesday August 15th
We will meet at Union Station, outside in front of the metro escalators
AT 5:30 PM
RSVP to Andria Swanson via email or (202) 234-9119 x 107
Wear your Empower DC Tshirt!

FOR MORE INFO ON THIS CAMPAIGN:
VIEW THE VIDEO
SIGN THE PETITION

Some history on the issue is in this Grassroots Media Project blog post.

Make sure foster kids have school supplies

Child and Family Services Agency's drive for school supplies for children and youth in foster care runs through the end of August.   CFSA's goal is to deliver backpacks and supplies for 300 young people.   You can help by taking the school supplies flyer shopping with you so you be sure to buy what kids need.

An example of a service provider doing more

In addition to providing services such as parenting classes or rental assistance to community members/clients, organizations often have the goal of "empowering" and "engaging" clients.   This post by Bread for the City, New advocacy reading room helps clients feed their minds, demonstrates how this multi-issue social service organization is going beyond services and helping improve the knowledge and skills of clients and neighbors.

Is your organization engaged in empowerment and engagement activities?   Leave a comment so we can learn more about this work.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Improve your advocacy skills August 15

The Coalition for Smarter Growth's Pro-DC effort* will be meeting August 15 from 6:30 - 7:30 pm at Laughing Man Tavern (1306 G St NW) to skill up in advocacy skills.

Topics at the one-hour workshop are:

  • How to testify most effectively at community and board meetings
  • Persuading and recruiting others to our smart growth vision
  • Why it's so important to get involved and make your voice heard right now

The workshop is in preparation for a advocacy around a progressive zoning update and numerous neighborhood issues.

RSVP here.   Email questions.

*Pro-DC is a collaborative project of Coalition for Smarter Growth and Greater Greater Washington.

The government wants to hear from you

Residents and stakeholders should jump on these three opportunities for input into District government programs and practices.

The DC government has two surveys open. The first is about improving the utility of the annual Children’s Budget report.   The second is about your experience calling 211 on a cell phone (available in English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Amharic, and Vietnamese).

There's also a survey inquiring about what residents and stakeholders want to know about the city's budget process.

The surveys close by mid-September so be sure to participate soon.

Free training for those with multiple employment barriers

StreetWise Partners' free training program Career Ventures, designed for people facing multiple barriers to employment, is accepting applications for the fall 2012 session.

The three-month career development and mentoring program helps low-income individuals realize their career potential by delivering high-impact professional development services and providing one-to-one career mentoring by volunteer business professionals in corporate settings.   In Career Ventures, trainees identify their professional strengths and viable career options; understand and practice essential workplace skills; map and utilize an expanded employment network; hone interview skills and create a marketable resume; and build public speaking and office computer skills.   Mentors also provide individualized guidance and support as trainees set and execute against a career work plan.

Interested individuals can submit an application on the StreetWise Partners website.   Interviews will be held at the end of the month for programs starting in mid-September.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Report on community-based efforts to reintegrate juvenile offenders

In late July the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) released the first quarter FY 2012 DC YouthLink Quarterly Performance Report (PDF).

New reporting areas for this DC YouthLink include re-conviction rates (often referred to as recidivism), workforce development, and educational outcomes.   Some of the findings are:

  • Re-Conviction Rates: Since DYRS began tracking arrests in April 2011, 83% of DC YouthLink enrollees have been in community-based placements without being found guilty of a new offense.
  • Workforce Development Outcomes: In the first quarter of FY 2012, 15 youth earned new, unsubsidized employment.   The measure means "youth attaining employment, youth maintaining employment, youth earning professional certifications and youth participating in internships."
  • Educational Outcomes: During the reporting period, seven youth earned a high school credential.   The measure means "youth achieving a high school credential and youth enrolling in post-secondary education."
  • Continued downward trajectory in abscondence rates.
  • Nearly two fold increase in the number of youth receiving mental health and substance abuse services.

Thoughts about the report?   Leave a comment.

DC YouthLink is a coalition of nonprofit organizations.   They've partnered with DYRS to reintegrate juvenile offenders into their communities by providing a host of services and supports to the youth and their families.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Essential info for nonprofits from DC Bar Pro Bono Program

From Regina Hopkins, Assistant Director for Community Economic Development at the DC Bar Pro Bono Program:
Every nonprofit corporation operating in D.C. must have a registered agent. The registered agent is the person designated by the nonprofit to receive important notices addressed to the nonprofit organization. This includes notices from the D.C. government, including the biennial return form, and any tax or other administrative notices. In addition, the registered agent is the person who is served with any legal papers if your nonprofit organization is sued.

Since so much of this information is time sensitive, it is important that whoever receives the information passes it along to the responsible person within your nonprofit as soon as possible. That is why it is important to pick the right person as your registered agent.

Who May Be a Registered Agent?
Under the previous Nonprofit Code, a registered agent had to be a resident of the District of Columbia. The residency requirement could be a problem if an individual serving as the registered agent, such as the executive director or Board chair, worked in D.C. but lived in Maryland or Virginia.

Now this problem has been solved. Under the new Nonprofit Code, which went into effect January 1, 2012, the rules regarding who can serve as a registered agent have been changed. Under the new rules, a nonprofit may designate either a commercial registered agent or a non-commercial agent.

A commercial registered agent is a business that will serve as the organization's agent for a fee. There are a number of corporations that are listed with the D.C. government and which will serve as a nonprofit's registered agent. Under the new law, these commercial entities can serve as registered agents provided the commercial entity maintains an office in D.C.

In addition, a nonprofit that does not employ a listed commercial registered agent, may designate as a registered agent any other corporation or an individual that serves in D.C. as the registered agent. The nonprofit may also use an individual who is:

  1. An officer, director or employee of the nonprofit provided the nonprofit maintains an office in D.C.; or
  2. An attorney licensed to practice law in D.C. who maintains an office in the city.

As you can see, in all cases, the important point is not where the person lives, but where he or she maintains a business office. Since legal papers are typically served during the day, where the person can be found during business hours is critical. As a result, most nonprofits will have greater flexibility in selecting a registered agent.

Verifying Your Registered Agent
Therefore, every nonprofit should take the opportunity to review who is serving as its registered agent. You can verify this information by going to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs website and checking your nonprofit corporation's latest corporate registration. Go to the website's main page, click on the CORP ONLINE icon, and it will direct your organization's registration.

Once there, check to see who is listed as your organization's registered agent and also look at the address of the person listed. If the person is no longer with your organization, or if the address listed is not the agent's current business address, you should file a form with DCRA changing the information about the registered agent. You can do so by filing a form with DCRA. There is a $40 filing fee.

It is important that you keep the information about your registered agent current. If your organization fails to do so, and it does not receive notice of a filing that is due or that your organization has been sued, your organization may be found in default, and may suffer significant financial penalties as a result. Keeping your registered agent filing up to date is an important way to avoid such penalties.

If you have any questions, contact Regina Hopkins via email or Darryl Maxwell via email at the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program.

Hearing what Latino youth have to say

Latino youth are encouraged to take this Office on Latino Affairs (OLA) survey (English and Spanish) to share their thoughts about a number of community and individual issues.    Topics the survey considers include college attendance, drug and alcohol use, neighborhood safety, and recreational activities.

Survey results will inform the work being done on the Mayoor's Latino Youth Town Hall taking place later this year.

Photo from OLA's Facebook page.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mayor Gray's August 8 sked

Mayor Gray will deliver remarks August 8 from 10:00 - 11:00 am at the ribbon cutting at the renovated New York Avenue Recreation Center and Playground (1st and O Sts NW).   The mayor's regular bi-weekly presser is also being held.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Recipe for nice, light, moist, soft cookie

As much as I love baking my sour cream cakes (see Recipes), I needed a change last week so made a batch of Susie's Take on Mom-mom's Sour Cream Cookie (Word).   What a great decision, a refreshing change of pace.   Give 'em a try if you favor not-too-sweet desserts.

Free hair cuts for kids in August

jcp (J.C. Penney) salons are offering free haircuts for kids in kindergarten through 6th grade.   Appointments necessary.   Call (855)-JCP-KIDS or stop by a store to make an appointment while they last.

Monday, August 6, 2012

A resident's view on engagement and outreach

Congress Heights on the Rise has recently published two pieces about outreach in Ward 8.   Please share your reactions to one or both in a comment.

CONSIDER THIS AN INTERVENTION criticizes government interactions with residents of Ward 8.

You can't Google the East of the River experience. My blog may bridge part of the gap but it doesn't come close to filling the void. East of the river engagement is an "on the ground" and "in the streets" type of operation. It involves many different perspectives and skill-sets (and maybe a confrontation or two). The strategies and tools that may be successful in Columbia Heights may not translate in Congress Heights. You can't expect a community that has been disenfranchised for a generation to come running at the first mention of a community meeting. It will take more than free hotdogs to get people excited about the Saint Elizabeths project. And you can not, for the love of all things holy, continue to engage people to do community outreach east of the river who do not live or work east of the river.

Because East of the River Outreach Should Be More Than A Flyer takes a similarly direct approach, this time using a nonprofit as an example of things gone wrong.

Not that I don't like paper flyers, I have enough of them to wallpaper my house twice over but there really needs to be a more diverse (and green) outreach strategy when it comes to connecting East of the River. Yes, there is the serious issue of the "digital divide" but the internet is here to stay and people (even older people) are cruising the information super highway. Don't sleep, my 85 year old neighbor sends me emails and my mother follows my blog religiously (she was following me on Facebook but I had to shut that down quick - sorry Mom!). The problem with some outreach efforts are that they are homogenous one way or the other (either purely paper or purely electronic).

Despite the many benefits of flyers, internet, and social media let us not forget that nothing beats a "personal touch" and whenever possible that is the way to go, but sometimes the challenge is reaching the people in order to touch them (that sounded much better in my head).

How many times have we heard about a good community meeting after it happened or went to one that had more government representatives than community residents? It's kind of like throwing a party and only your grandma shows up. When it comes to East of the River outreach efforts, especially those involving the DC and Federal government there needs to be a combination of off and online tools in the community outreach toolbox. I can't recommend enough that East of the River organizations get in the social media game. Newsflash: the internet is here to stay and Facebook, Twitter, and blogs are free and are for the most part pretty user friendly. We need to do a lot of different things in order to reach a lot of different people.

We have seen the fallout of what happens when organizations either intentionally or accidentally (depending on who you ask) skip that all important step of community outreach -- BTW you have to get "out" in order to "reach." The old saying may be, "it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission" but outraged community advocates (especially in Ward 8) will make you feel both and twice over if you try to prevent than from having their say. Please don't let Ms. Rose think you were trying to shut her out - she will go off!

Friday, August 3, 2012

NewsTalk gets full-hour replay!

There's been a great change with NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt: There is now a full-hour replay of the morning's show at 1:00 pm. Watch the 1:00 replay on NewsChannel8 (and use the same link for half-hour replays at 8:30 pm and 11:30 pm).

If you miss the same-day replays, watch on TBD.com.

Art and poetry contests for kids

DC State Fair has announced an art and poetry contest for young people.   The art contest is open to children in grades K-9 and the poetry contest is open to young people in grades K-10.   The deadline for submissions is August 31 and entering both contests is free!   Details here.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Comment now on city's winter plan for those who are homeless

A draft of the District of Columbia's 2012-2013 Winter Plan To Protect Those Who Are Homeless (PDF) has been released for public comment.   Written comments and feedback to the draft plan can be submitted through Noon, Monday August 6.   Send all written comments to Darrell Cason at the Department of Human Services via email.

An essential back-to-school supply

Did you know that the most important school supply of all is a library card?

Yup, ‘tis true.

The whole world is available to young and old at the library.   At the DC Public Library, you can check out books and movies.   Young children are exposed to stories, the excitement of language during story hour.   Young people can get homework help and some teens even can get a job at the library.   Older folks can get assistance with resumes and job searches.

The library opens up a whole new world.   So visit your library today, get a card and start checking out the world―here and very far away.

Getting a library card is easy.   You can do it online at dclibrary.org or in person.   School-age children may apply for a card; young children may receive one upon request by a parent.   [Note:   A child’s record cannot be reviewed by the parents under the "District of Columbia Confidentiality of Library Records Act of 1984" (DC Law 5-128).   The child must initiate such a request.]

If you are running a back-to-school supply drive, be sure to include information about how children can get a library card.   And remember the parents; they need a card, too!

Have you called 211 using a cell phone?

If you have used a cell phone to call 211 (also known as Answers, Please!) to get information about a service you or someone else needs, DMHHS wants to hear about your experience.   The responses will help the District improve its system.

Please take—and if you’re a service provider, have your clients take—this brief and confidential survey.   It’s available in English, Spanish, French, Amharic, Vietnamese, and Chinese.   All surveys are available on the website of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services.   Note that English and Spanish are available online and in PDF (scroll down) but we encourage you to use the online version!

The survey closes September 14.

211 is the District’s social services referral system available by phone and Internet. Anyone can call any time to find out about health services, government programs, help for families, and much more!

A shout out to So Others Might Eat (SOME) for suggesting a survey be done for clients who may use their cell phones to call 211.

Wild Apricot's August 2012 list of free webinars

Wild Apricot's August 2012 list of free webinars includes something for everyone―from board and volunteer management, fundraising, and technology.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Natural linkages between sustainability and social services

On July 31, the District Department of the Environment and the Office of Planning conducted the Sustainable DC Twitter Town Hall, an online chat about how health, education, jobs, and equity relate to sustainability.  (Check out the chat on Tweet Chat.)

Any skepticism about the relationship between these four issues and sustainability was quickly put to rest.   Environmental, planning, and other sustainability experts chatted effortlessly with social services folks about important issues.   We chatted about food, learning, volunteering, leadership development, health, and much more.   Those topics demonstrating special synergy have been captured in the selected tweets Storified in Sustainable DC's relevance to low-income advocacy and services.