Friday, October 22, 2010

Networks of Support

In a recent post on my blog I wrote about how important it is to have a personal support network in times of struggle. This past week Alyssa and I visited several of Community Shares member nonprofits and did video interviews with executive directors, staff, and clients at each (look for a new digital library coming soon!) Forgive the camera work because I was so compelled by the conversations we had that I could barely keep the camera straight and Alyssa has suggested that we line up a tripod for our next interviews!

What I heard from David Burgess at the Charg Resource Center, Terrell Curtis from The Delores Project, and Tammy Mulligan and Amanda Baker at Denver Urban Ministries is just how important it is for them not only provide support but also to encourage their visitors to start building personal networks. At Denum, we saw people using the computer lab to catch up with friends and family, update resumes, and even promote their poetry (see Alyssa's post below!) When thinking about homelessness I usually remember people's need food and shelter. I forget that basic human needs include the desires to connect with others, to be creative, to learn, and to share your talents.

This morning I stumbled onto the Invisible People Blog which brings awareness to homelessness through social media. Mark Horvath, the sites founder knows what it is like to be homeless and has helps homeless people build out their network and their skills through social media. He started We Are Visible, a project which has received funding through the Pepsi Refresh Project.

Just another example of how "gamechanging" social media is for the nonprofit sector and for the causes and people we serve.

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