Saturday, December 4, 2010

Making a difference and Community Collaboration

Today I will facilitate another Scholarship Workshop in the computer lab at Diamond Lakes Library. Wednesday's workshop was fun, everyone learned something new and students connected with others they may not have met on the street.

We run through a Google Presentation that is shared with the public and participants can view it at their own pace before, after, or during the workshop and for those who cannot physically visit the library, the chat function in presentations is used. I provide them with a printed handout that is also available through Google Docs and ask them to share any golden nuggets of what is working or has not worked for them. This document is updated by participants so it is a continuous project. So this post is used to document lessons learned and consolidate the resources.

We also walk through the library to see the options of printed books, from the reference section of books that do not leave the library to the library books that range from college life to tests available/required for career and college options that can be checked out. We also point through the glass of the available study materials that can be checked out and used in the library.  

It was 2 years ago that I gave my last workshop at the library before transitioning to North  Carolina. My local library was also one of my first stops when I returned to Georgia. While I was glad to see the library offering free wi-fi and basic computer classes during the day, I was sad that no one had picked up the Google products and Scholarship workshops even though all materials used are available on the web and printed copies were left with the library.

So what did we learn?
Everyone shared something and everyone learned something new.
Everyone was registered through GACollege411 and Fastweb.
Everyone has a resume but not available online.
Everyone used Google to see what is associated with their name and screen names used on other sites and viewed the web results, images, news, and maps.
Everyone understands that competing for scholarships is as challenging as competing for jobs.
Almost every scholarship source has some type of social media connection.
School counselors still do not provide information to students that dual enrollment is an option during high school. 
Google Alerts
Google Books
Google Voice
That volunteering can lead to a real job.
We (as a community) lack support and encouragement for our young adults in the tech world at the local college and high school levels.

I limit the workshops to one hour and it seems to be the quickest hour of my day, even after a long day on the job with our service members in the professional military education (PME) system. I stay afterwards for those who have additional questions or recommendations or to just use my library for the many resources available. This time I am giving the participants a printed copy of the Tech Sharing gift certificate and a challenge to share what they learned with a friend, a parent, a neighbor and to return to the library to do it.

The follow up emails, texts, and voice mail messages are what keep me going back. I believe in our replacements, regardless of their computer skills, race, sex, age, national origin, religion, ability/disability and/or sexual preference. Regardless of how you feel about a younger generation, you eventually will be replaced. What is your continuity plan as you look to exit a position, a community, or life? After you are gone, it is the difference you made represented by the dash in between the date you entered the world and the date you expire.

The Dash by Linda Ellis
The story behind the poem
Movie  Time: 2:47
A Teacher's Dash
A Mother's Dash

How are you making the difference in your replacement's life?
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