“How are we doing?” was the theme of the meeting. Ron Cooper kicked things off with a review of the NNB Project for new guests. This was the third meeting of the Task Force and we welcomed representatives from four of the five NNB partner organizations plus several new communities not currently represented.
John Taylor from Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity wanted to know how the NNB project might help provide additional literacy training in partnership with the Alpha Academy, a program working closely with African American youth in South Sacramento. Additional youth from the Hmong and Chinese communities expressed interest in developing new connections to “sister cities” in Pacific Rim countries.
The gathering of more than 20 leaders helped the NNB Task Force better understand the challenges facing our partner organizations.
Vidal Gonzalez, Edder Tapia Cruz, and Apolonia Cortez described the interest La Familia had garnered from local news organizations. “The Bee, Channel 40, and the Sacramento Press have all contacted us wanting to do news stories about our organization. We welcome this attention thanks to the Neighborhood News Project,” Vidal explained.
Choua Lee from Asian Resources was eager to learn reporting skills and how to use the computer for video editing. “It’s great to see our teens so excited about telling their stories and I’m learning so much myself. Isaac and Liz are great teachers”.
Angelica Rodriquez had good news and bad news from Florin Creek. “We have some very interested teens but unfortunately the Southgate Parks and Recreation Department is re-organizing due to the economy and will be closing our site August 31. But we will be moving the project to the Rizal Center and plan to stay involved. This is a great program. It will take us a few weeks to get reorganized but we will continue,” she pledged. It was suggested to change the blog site to read “Southgate” inviting all remaining centers to participate in the project. She agreed, “I will suggest that to our General Manager. He wants the program to continue.”
Kevin Lawless explained that the Valley Hi – North Laguna Library was suffering from “too much success”. He explained, “We are one of the newest Libraries but already we are the second busiest. Only the main Library downtown sees more customers.” He continued, “I want to add more updates but finding the time is a challenge”. Maybe it is time to include the “customers” in on the training was the suggestion. What if seniors were invited to write book reviews? Maybe community trainings could be conducted in their beautiful community room? Suggestions started to flow from every corner of the room.
Concluding the meeting, the Task Force decided to invite our media partners to the next meeting on August 19. “We want to know how can we help them better – what do they need from us? ” Cooper clarified.
Follow-up meetings are scheduled with potential new partners and to prepare budgets for grant applications. “If you wanted to pick the worst possible decade to start a project like this, this is it”, Cooper commented. “But these difficult financial times will pass. We must remind ourselves we will always need to tell our stories to funding sources, news media, and to our members. We just need to efficient and use powerful new technology for better distribution. That’s how democracy works in the 21st century”, he concluded.