The VISTA Beeswax Bees wax

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					     Issue 1                                                                                         February 2009

      The VISTA Beeswax
     In a world where 60% of jobs require computer skills, it has become
     clear that knowledge of technology is crucial to succeeding in this
     digital age. One Economy VISTAs have the unique opportunity to
     fight poverty and make a difference by uplifting communities with
     the power of technology.

One Economy Welcomes                                                                         ABOUT THIS
the February 2009 VISTAs                                                              This newsletter is proudly
By Holly Kalemeris                         during February 9-12, 2009.                produced by the members of One

W       ith the installment of each            PSO introduces members to VISTA,       Economy’s Americorps*VISTA
        VISTA class, I am reminded         its mission, history, and policies. This   Digital Inclusion Project, funded
of the optimism and spirit of ser-         is also where members learn about          by an Americorps*VISTA grant.
vice that still exists in our country.     their roles and responsibilities as a
                                                                                      It is published monthly and
One Economy’s Americorps*VISTA             VISTA member. PSO closes with all
                                           VISTA members taking an oath of            contains success stories and
members make an incredible offering
                                           service and vowing to do everything in     news for current and past One
to our nation’s communities, commit-
ting their talents to solving poverty      their power to eliminate poverty in the    Economy VISTA members.
issues simply because they wish to be      United States of America.
agents of change. One Economy will             Immediately following PSO, One         Editor: Laura Parewski
be welcoming its next class of VISTAs      Economy’s Americorps*VISTA mem-            Assistant Ed.: Holly Kalemeris
on February 12, 2009, and while they       bers attend On Site Training (OST) to
have not yet to taken their oath of ser-   be trained on One Economy’s mission        Project Director: Laurie
vice, I am truly inspired by what the      and methods promoting digital inclu-       Williams
future brings by way of their accepting    sion.
a placement.                                   I am looking forward to includ-
   All who accept a VISTA placement        ing the new One Economy VISTAs’
through One Economy’s program              stories of service and success in
kick off their service by joining new      next quarter’s VISTA Beeswax. The
VISTAs across the country at Pre-Ser-      newsletter will report on new digital
vice Orientation (PSO). The February       inclusion movements in Houston, TX;
VISTA class will be attending PSO          Lewiston, NC; New Orleans, LA; and
                                           Norfolk, VA.
     Issue 1                                                                                      February 2009

Getting Connected with AT&T
By Kevin Corbett                                                                           is available.
                                                                                              I chose the more
   Every family counts.                                                                    difficult path knowing
Every household has                                                                        Shannon’s immediate
an inalienable right to                                                                    neighbors were being
broadband. According                                                                       connected via DSL, that
to recent data (Q1 2008                                                                    “Express Speed Not
to Q2 2008) US broad-                                                                      Available” carried no
band penetration among                                                                     weight in this case, and
the general population                                                                     that One Economy could
dropped from 17th to                                                                       be an advocate for her. It
19th overall among all                                                                     turned out that Shannon
countries surveyed world-                                                                  was empowered to advo-
wide. In contrast, for the                                                                 cate for herself as well.
first time, US broadband                                                                   She initiated three 3-way
penetration broke ninety      Shannon and Braxxton pose, smiling because                   calls between us and after
percent among active In-      of newly acquired DSL connection.                            five months of working
ternet users in June 2008.                                                                 with AT&T, the Acces-
Simply put, America has       billion broadband rollout.    edly delayed for various       sAll program connected
a long way to go to con-      In fact, the AccessAll        reasons, ranging from old      Shannon via broadband
nect its total population,    program offers dial-up        phone line technology          DSL. Shannon and her
but those few connections     as a last resort to areas     native to Indiana to an        son, Braxxton, now plan
are broadband. The haves      of the United States not      erroneous account freeze       to watch webisodes of
have and the have-nots,       yet served by DSL. It’s       from past-due bill collec-     “Diary of a Single Mom”
well, they dial-up if         better than nothing but       tions that never actually      on the Public Internet
lucky.                        dial-up is incapable of       took place. As a Program       Channel. She also plans
                              handling today’s rich         Manager for AccessAll,         to utilize the Beehive’s
   AccessAll’s goal of        media content. Literally,     I had a choice to look         free H&R Block tax ser-
bringing technology and       one cannot “AccessAll”        the other way and assign       vice this tax season and
its benefits into homes       with narrow bandwidth.        Shannon Murray dial-up,        one of her first activities
throughout the coun-          However, many of my           the easier path, or partner    was to download free
try is fully realized via     partner families are          with Shannon and edu-          antivirus software. Wel-
broadband, not dial-up.       ultimately denied DSL.        cate our telecomm part-        come to the information
President Obama’s $787        One Evansville Habitat        ner about the hardships        superhighway, Shannon.
billion economic stimulus     for Humanity family’s         placed on the families         Glad to make your con-
package includes a $6         connection was repeat-        who are told only dial-up      nection acquaintance.

  “What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of
  every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we
  do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is noth-
  ing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult
  task. This is the price and the promise of citizenship.” – President Obama                            Page 2
      Issue 1                                                                                             February 2009

The Spotlight’s on...                                                                 One Economy
                                                                                      Launches PIC.TV
 Michelle Brasseur                                                                       The Public             Through the
   “I’m very excited about my project. It’s new, but Winston-                         Internet Channel
                                                                                      ( is a
   Salem, NC has some amazing resources, and I see my                                                        • How timely...
   purpose here as tying up loose ends and building on the                            next-generation,       just wanted you to
   work of some really amazing people.”                                               public-purpose         know how real this
                                                                                                             is in our communi-
   Home Town: Newark, OH                                                              online network. It     ties. Thanks,
   Project Site: One Economy, Winston-Salem, NC                                       inspires, informs,     -New Albany Habitat
   Project: Winston-Salem Digital Inclusion                                           and entertains,        for Humanity, IN
                                                                                      helping people live • I loved the first
   Michelle has immersed herself in the Walmart Mobile Lab
                                                                                      better lives.          episode! Im hooked
   Tax Campaign. Her role is to build the capacity of our part-                                              already!
   ners and labs throughout the project. This project will deploy 5 vans equipped        The Public          -Kenyetta, posted on
   with computers into communities helping people file their taxes online. Look for   Internet Channel       Facebook
   Michelle’s take on the whole project on our VISTA blog,    combines               • The show is very
                                                                                      compelling             inspiring!
                                                                                      programming            -Atiya, posted on

Exciting Christmas Season
                                                                                      with a launching
                                                                                      point into
for Habitat for Humanity                                                              relevant information that provides the
                                                                                      opportunity for people to take action.
By Laura Parewski                          program and has that excitement in            Everything on the Public Internet
                                           her voice when she talks about her         Channel is relevant, current, accessible
   The weekend before Christmas,           job where you can tell how much she        and, whenever possible, local — and
on December 20, 2008, I did an in-         loves it just by listening to her talk     always with a clearly-defined public
stallation for the AccessAll Program       about it. Zena’s also taking classes at    purpose. The Public Internet Channel
of 30 computers with the Milwaukee         a local community college working          shows real people in real situations
Habitat for Humanity. I realize to         toward a business degree.                  tackling everyday topics.
most of you this will not sound like          The afternoon volunteers went              It also provides users with an
a success story but an ordinary oc-        to help her install her computer, she      interactive “Make It Easy” toolbox
currence for an Access All program         was so grateful for the help and even      that gives people instant access to
manager, albeit a larger installation.     more so that she was receiving the         local information and the tools they
However, I see it as a major accom-        computer and internet service. After       need to take action based on what they
plishment for the Habitat affiliate        the modem was hooked up and the            learned. By providing this tool directly
and the partner families.                  internet connection active, Zena           to all Americans, we hope to narrow
   The families I met through the          explained that she was so happy to         the “information gap” that divides
planning and executing of the instal-      have a copy of Microsoft office in         communities and provide a common
lation were truly inspiring.               her home. She uses PowerPoint in           space that crosses racial, gender, age,
   Zena Emerson closed on her Hab-         a lot of her classes and could never       religious, geographic and political
itat home in 2007. She lives with her      work on the presentations in the           barriers.
dog in her modestly decorated home         privacy of her own home until now.
in which her grown kids often visit        And now she couldn’t wait to open
her. Zena works at an after school              ATT continued on Page 6

                                                             Page 3
    Issue 1                                                                                     February 2009

Volunteer Help Makes It Happen
By Elanie Golcher           The idea that I can affect    to work in a small way to       unteers showed them how
                            someone’s live in a very      help the people through         to work the computer,
   Through the AccessAll    “real world” way, makes       the One Economy Corpo-          powering on and off, the
Program, I work to pro-     all the difference for me.    ration in it efforts to bring, and other
vide computers, internet                                  about change.                   helpful tool.
                               So far, most of the fam-
service and training for
                            ilies I have encountered         This Saturday, I con-           Furthermore, the vol-
the Habitat for Humanity
                            have never before owned       ducted a Volunteer event        unteers said they really
families of Jacksonville,
                            a computer and even less      where eight volunteers          enjoyed their experience.
Florida. I find myself
                            had internet access. They     showed up and worked            They also said they would
engulfed in the people
                            are excited about the         together to deliver and         definitely volunteer again.
and the neighborhoods.
                            program and I am excited      set up the computers in         I even had a volunteer
The community gives me
                            for them. The Internet has    the families homes. The         thank me for my contri-
the inspiration to move
                            become one of the most        families were ecstatic to       butions to the project. I
forward; to advance and
                            important tools of modern     be finally getting their        believe this is what it is
be proactive everyday.
                            times. I am happy to be       new computer. The vol-          all about.

First Pacific Northwest Digital Inclusion Summit
Mayor of Seattle WA, Greg Nickels Declares January 28 “Digital Inclusion Day”
and Announces New Technology Partnership

T   he day-long summit included workshops on engaging the nation’s youth in technology,
    technology policies on the local, state and national levels, and empowering communities to
make digital inclusion a top priority for legislators and policy-makers. Danielle Corbray, a One
Economy Americorps*VISTA placed at the Seattle Metrocenter YMCA, played a crucial role in
the planning and execution of the Digital Inclusion Summit.
• Rey Ramsey CEO, of One             tion, workforce, technology youth,        influence policy.
Economy presented a powerful         international, philanthropic, and         • Participants engaged in work-
keynote address on Digital Inclu-    non-profit                                shops discussing: ways of inspiring
sion in troubled times               • Innovative Community Awards             and engaging our nation’s youth in
• Peg Giffels, Community Partner-    presentation                              technology, what we can do to mo-
ship Manager of Npower moder-        • An in- depth look at the political      tivate our future workforce through
ated a forum that will explore the   initiatives in Washington around          technology, and technology from a
issues of technology and the econ-   technology and broadband access,          policy level.
omy to include local and national    and action oriented guidance on
influential members of the educa-    what you can do to change and

                                                   Page 4
     Issue 1                                                                                                   February 2009

Work in North Carolina Gives a Second Chance
In just one semester, the Bertie County Hive has seen improvements in students’
grades, behavior, and self esteem.
By Holly Kalemeris
   Like many rural com-
munities around the United
States, Bertie County, North
Carolina has faced increas-
ingly complex economic
and educational challenges
presented by today’s 21st
century economy. Three
years ago, One Economy
partnered with Bertie
County to solve technology
access issues. Through this
partnership, One Economy
installed several technol-
ogy initiatives, including
two youth empowerment
programs. During my sec-
ond year as a One Economy
VISTA, I have had the op-      The students of The Bertie County Hive.
portunity to work with one     ties. During the creation        in the lives        The Hive: Student Pledge
of these youth initiatives:    stage of the Bertie Hive,        of their stu-       I believe in myself and my ability to do my best.
the Hive, a recovery school    our goal, was to improve         dents. Enrolled I am intelligent, I am capable of greatness.
program.                       the lives of the hardest to      students are        I can learn. I will learn. I must learn.
                                                                                    Today, I will listen, I will speak, I will see.
   The Bertie County Hive      reach young men in the           expected to         I will think, I will feel, and I will reason.
has implemented a four-        school system by equipping       attend class        I will read and I will write.
                                                                                    I will do all these things with one purpose in mind.
pronged method of instruc-     enrolled students with the       hours at the        To do my best.
tion: teaching traditional     knowledge and experience         Bertie County       I am too smart to waste today.
curriculum through our Ba-     necessary to succeed in the      Hive, and
sic Skills method, providing   today’s digital age. In just a   abide by the                             existence of a peer review
computer training through      few months, I have wit-          enforced dress code. For all group. This group is made
the Technological Skills       nessed the teachers and ad-      this school rules and regula- up of 3 students, and they
system, fostering personal     ministrative staff members       tions, the staff involved                are defenders of the honor
growth through a Character     at the Hive reach this goal      students in setting behav-               code within the Hive. The
Development program, and       to levels never expected.        ioral guidelines so that they Rules of the Hive and the
preparing students for post       Since opening the school      felt immediate ownership of Peer Review Group are just
graduation life with Experi-   doors on August 25, 2008,        the school and abide by its
ential Learning opportuni-     the Hive has made waves          rules. A sense of trust and                     HIVE continued on
                                                                belonging comes from the                                            Page 6

                                                          Page 5
      Issue 1                                                                                             February 2009

HIVE continued from Page 5                 matter. She shared with me the follow-       ment materials, marketing documents,
                                           ing oath to education:                       student schedules, best practices, and
two of the many systems existing at                                                     highly rated curriculum.
                                           I believe in myself and my ability to
the school that have created a commu-
                                           do my best.                                     By the time of my first visit to the
nity of trust and respect among staff
                                           I am intelligent, I am capable of great-     Hive, school had been in session for
and students.
                                           ness.                                        2 weeks. Walking through the doors,
   From the time this school was just      I can learn. I will learn. I must learn.     I was glad to see the attendance sheet
an idea to the completion of the first     Today, I will listen, I will speak, I will   that I had created was being used, the
semester, my personal involvement in       see.                                         notebooks that I made for each of the
the Hive has been limited to admin-        I will think, I will feel, and I will        teachers were safely on their desks,
istrative tasks. After all, I work in an   reason.                                      and the posters that I had ordered
office that is a four-hour drive from      I will read and I will write.                displaying the Rules of the Hive were
the schoolyard. In the planning stages,    I will do all these things with one pur-     posted on the walls. However, nothing
a concern was voiced that students         pose in mind. To do my best.                 could have prepared me for that first
will have a hard time focusing during      I am too smart to waste today.               time that I heard the students recite
school due to the issues they are con-                                                  their oath to education, what they call
                                              She explained to me that her high
fronted with everyday. It was decided                                                   the “Power Pledge.” The 20 students -
                                           school students opened each day by
that we needed a system set up where                                                    the young, hardest to reach young men
                                           saying these words. While her students
students could leave their issues at the                                                in Bertie County - said these words
                                           started off the school year rolling
door and prepare themselves for a day                                                   proudly, and they added a bit of flavor
                                           their eyes at this request, this pledge
of learning. I spoke with my room-                                                      to the finish of the pledge:
                                           eventually became highly important
mate, a past Teach for America Corps
                                           to them. I forwarded my roommate’s              I am too smart to waste today, to-
member assigned to a school in the
                                           suggestion via email to the school           morrow, and my future.
New Orleans’ ninth ward, about this
                                           staff, just as I had the student recruit-

ATT continued from Page 3                  is really what my daily work is all          confidence, a little more knowledge of
the program and play with all the fea-     about. I help give people the tools to       what opportunities are out there and
tures so she would be able to improve      improve their lives and move forward.        what resources are available to her,
her skills.                                Zena will play with PowerPoint and           and with a bigger smile on her face.
                                           improve her presentation making skills       And at the end of the day, I hope that
   I realize that Zena’s story isn’t the
                                           and earn a degree, just like she would       every recipient of a computer and in-
biggest success story that One Econo-
                                           have somehow even without the Ac-            ternet through the Access All program
my’s ever heard about and it probably
                                           cess All program. But because of the         feels exactly the same way.
doesn’t even come close, but her story
                                           program, she’ll do it with a little more

                    “You may never know what results come of your action, but if you
                         do nothing, there will be no result” –Mahatma Gandhi

                                                          Page 6

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