ellohay! West Michigan

Geek-a-thon, August 15, 2009

Posted in events, good news, laptops, pilot, sponsors, volunteers by forgr on August 2, 2009

First off, the ellohay! West Michigan team invites you to read our new blog, at http://www.ellohay.org. We’ve been posting there lately, so if you’ve missed us here, check us out there!

So the next order of business—

August 15, 2009, Geek-a-thon, 6pm at the Brassworks Building, 648 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

The Geek-a-thon is ellohay! West Michigan’s first annual install-fest. This evening event that will bring geeks from all over the area together to help prepare 100 computers to be given away, free of charge, to at-risk and impoverished high school students in Grand Rapids, MI.

We are expecting approximately 100 guests for an evening of games, robotics demonstrations, food and drinks.

Poster for the event:
8.5 x 11 ellohay! West Michigan Geek-a-thon poster

Guests and vendors include, Geek-Aid West Michigan, MadCap Coffee, Astronomer Rickey Ainsworth from the Grand Rapids Public Museum Planetarium, the Lego Mindstorm Robotic youth group presenting their Robo-Sumo match, Intelligent Interactive Technology from Jason Sosa’s Immersive Labs, Comprenew Environmental eWaste truck, and more

We are working directly with Geek-Aid of West Michigan, who is holding their Geek-Aid 2009 concert the same day in Riverside Park to raise awareness of youth poverty and digital exclusion in West Michigan.

We need the geeks and nerds of West Michigan to come together and volunteer a few hours of their time to a great cause that will help stimulate job growth, foster community, increase school participation, fight poverty and digital exclusion, and create new jobs!

For more details, visit our facebook event page, http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=57803959897

Map to the Brassworks building:

What does ellohay! West Michigan do?

spiral

Ellohay! West Michigan is built around three principle goals; Earn a Laptop, Technical Literacy, and Tech Support.

As participants make their way through the program, they will be provided a laptop donated to the organization by West Michigan businesses, loaded with Linux Ubuntu and other open-source software by volunteers.

In order to obtain ownership of the laptop, participants will participate in 8 hours of community service, as well as attend workshops to meet prearranged technical literacy benchmarks that they have created for themselves with an ellohay! Volunteer Counselor.

Eventually the hope is that the community service will continue beyond the program, and graduating individuals will share their new skills among homes and neighborhoods as a grass-roots line of tech support.

If you have a gently-used laptop to donate, please call (616) 446-3622, and we’ll pick it up. It will go to a good home and live a new life in West Michigan!

We also need sponsors for our upcoming pilot program with West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology (WMCAT) this Fall.

You, your group, or business can sponsor one student for three months for just $170. She’ll receive a laptop, hands-on workshops, a mentor, and technical support.

If you have questions, email me Marie-Claire at marie-claire (at) ellohay.org. Cheers!

ellohay! west michigan video update, episode 1

The first rough-n-tumble installment of our video update for ellohay! west michigan. ellohay! west michigan is dedicated to making positive differences in the lives of under-served individuals within the West Michigan area through healthy, sustainable, meaningful, connections with technology.

http://www.twitter.com/ellohay

It’s so much, but the thing is… it feels right.

Posted in organization, physical presence, pilot, planning, programs, strategy, volunteers by forgr on March 8, 2009

As it turns out, the more work that I do behind the scenes, the less time I have to share cool stuff with the outside.

I always wanted to make sure that if I was involved with an organization, it would be a priority to keep things as transparent and honest as possible. And it’s not that I’m not being honest, I just can’t do everything that needs to get done all by myself.

Right now, I’m learning so much new stuff, and all at the same time to boot:

dscn0100

Nonprofit administration
Building a board of directors
Fundraising
Mission-based for-profit ventures
Building a budget
Incorporation
The details of becoming a tax exempt nonprofit organization
Special needs education methods
Grant writing

Familiarizing myself with Ubuntu, Open Office, Picassa
Donor management systems
Commercial real estate jargon

And easily 100 other new, exciting, things.

Natasha, Tom, and I have been meeting weekly to get programs fleshed out, and get a plan for the months ahead hashed out, visiting potential workshop spaces.

I have my Friday afternoons (my new dedicated ellohay! West Michigan time) jam jacked with meetings, visits, tours and conversations.

It’s so much, and it’s everywhere, but the thing is, it feels right.

Bringing it all together

Posted in earn-a-laptop, organization, planning, research, software, strategy, writing by forgr on January 4, 2009

In my professional life I keep everything organized in one place. One to do list, with subheadings, prioritized items, due dates, the works. At home I’m much less organized.

For this project, I’m organized in my head, but not on paper. I’m all over the place.

Let’s review the online tools list that I use:

For writing, I use: Twitter, WordPress.
For photos, I use: Flickr
For bookmarks, I use: Twitter, and the ‘links’ column in WordPress
For fundraising, I use: Fundable (success!), ChipIn (fail)
For Groups, I use: Google Groups (fail), LinkedIn (mixed success)
For video, I intend on using: YouTube

Now, a look at other on and offline tools for getting things done:

For newsletters, I intend of using: Constant Contact
For domain registration, I used: GoDaddy
For website hosting, I used: DreamHost
For email, I use: Gmail
For writing, I use: Microsoft Word
For Internet browsing, I use: Mozilla Firefox
For wire-framing and strategic documents, I use: OmniGraffle
For top of the head notes, with no paper on hand, I use: a little digital voice recorder

For getting ideas down on paper, literally:

Color-coded sticky notes
Black journal with graph paper pages
Graph Paper note pad
Giant sticky notes
Whatever happens to be lying around if/when I get an idea (receipts, empty spots on the back of brochures)

It’s so scattered right now. So, what I’m trying to do is figure out what works, and how I can quickly communicate things to the right people and in the right place. Blogging here works pretty well, but it doesn’t loan itself to versioning very well, and it’s difficult to write partial thoughts too.

BaseCamp or Google Docs, Google Spreadsheets may be the best option to keep all these things together.

picture-3 picture-4

I guess it’s time to just choose and get started. Aggregate, transcribe notes. Bringing it all together is going to be difficult, and take time, but I’m pretty sure I’m the only one that can understand my own notes.

On an unrelated note, we’ve got ourselves a P.O. Box, and a first draft of a budget.

A Conversation with the Macatawa Media Center

Posted in benchmarks, conversations, players, research, sustainability by forgr on December 13, 2008

I hadn’t forgotten about my conversation with Barb Pyle from the Macatawa Media Center, honestly. I met with her back in early May in their office on E 19th Street in Holland. We discussed their current computer refurbishing program, their television and production programs, and outreach programs.

Barb was very interested in what we are starting here in the Grand Rapids area, and wanted to know how we planned on cultivating and maintaining a genuinely sustainable “business”.

If by sustainable, she’s asking if we might have the capacity to preserve a complex set of programs (earn-a-laptop, digital literacy, technical support) indefinitely, then we’re on the right path.

If being sustainable means promoting stable and healthy communities, restoring environmental quality, and increasing long-term profitability, then yes we’re pointed in the right direction.

We have a lot of planning to do, but if we at least if know what we want and what’s important to us, that brings us closer to determining how we plan on getting it, and knowing once we have it.

Thank you Barb.