I haven't updated in a while. Here goes a quick summary of the projects I have going on: I am still updating this website with new information regularly. In addition, I edit, write for, and disseminate a monthly e-newsletter for the website using Constant Contact. Finally, and the Miami-Dade Affordable Housing Foundation Inc. have become involved in organizing a two-day symposium regarding Green Building and Affordable Housing. For this project I have set up their online registration and engaged in many hours (read: Saturdays and weekdays after work) of fact finding and organizing the fine details of flying speakers in from around the country, finding them hotel accommodations, setting admission prices, attracting vendors, attracting sponsors, finding trinkets, arranging a bus tour, arranging meals, and finding a room to house the event.

South Florida Computer Lab Mapping Project This is a project Victoria and I are working on jointly. I have spent 6 months and Vic has spent 3 months or so (since she started) on surveying every single public computer lab in the South Florida Region. South Florida constitutes Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties and has a population of over 5.3 million people which does not include the millions of tourist who visit here every year. We identified over 180 labs and have successfully completed over 130 to date. We have put all this information in an Access datafile and are currently in the process of putting up a searchable, online database of these labs for public use to be featured on multiple community-based websites.

Miami-Dade CTC Volunteer Project This is another project Victoria and I are working on together. We are working loosely with the Center for Nonprofit Effectiveness (C-ONE) in Miami to create a volunteer network for the non-profit computer labs and other non-profits of Miami-Dade to offer help with computer lab staffing and tech support. This project builds on the mapping project as we are investigating in-depth the actual needs of local CTCs and deciding whether or not they have the capacity to utilize volunteers successfully. We are currently working on developing a centralized process with local labs and C-ONE that includes organizing background checks, creating volunteer descriptions, and setting up schedules. We've done a lot with this, but it is a long-term project with a lot of work still ahead.

Miami-Dade Social Networking Project This is a project Victoria and I are working on as well. What we've noticed in the field is that many labs refuse their students access to websites like Myspace for safety reasons, which we feel is a shame because the kids really enjoy it and it helps build community. What we want to do is set up a social networking website that is safe and promotes digital excellence. We are currently writing a Knight Foundation grant to hopefully free up some money to fund the project, while considering alternate plans of action such as setting up an account with or having students from one of the local universities design it for us and having either or YE-TEC possibly host the website. This is another on-going project that we hope to develop more fully as we devote more attention to it.

Homework Gap Policy Brief This is a project that has stalled on me due to technical reasons, ie not having a program that can read the LARGE census files.
We've been trying to get some census gurus to help open and trim this DAT file since April, but there’s been no luck. What Im trying to do is portray the difference in homework completion between K-12 students who have computers at home and those who do not. Preliminary data suggests that those who do not have a computer at home are much less likely to complete their homework in Miami Beach. I believe an in-depth paper on this topic for all of Miami-Dade County would help tremendously in freeing up some money to help K-12 students receive additional computer access at home or some place after school. So this is also an ongoing project that I hope to get completed before too long.

Muni-Wifi and Digital Inclusion This is a project that Im helping with my Collins Center supervisor, Mark Needle. We have submitted a grant to IBM's Center for The Business of Government yesterday (Oct 1) to help fund a paper that will investigate how different types of cities can best achieve digital excellence by providing a formula that quantifies local needs and offers a policy matrix. The paper proposes that we would use Miami Beach as a case example of how to assess local needs and prescribe a proper policy solution. I've already made a database of 80 or so cities in the country that have gone wireless and have contacted them about their wireless projects and what their digital inclusion plans are for them. So we have much of the research under way.

We have also formed a coalition with the Miami Beach Community Development Corporation to help push the city of Miami Beach to offer more in the way of digital inclusion for their residents. We’ve met with a couple city commissioners about our vision for the city, but it is a very slow process. This is another long term project that will continue for quite some time.

Miscellaneous I do stuff on the side too. For instance I am working with the Mattie Koonce Tech Center to help get their computers on a network, find some people to volunteer for their lab, help them out with their hours, and find them some money for a full time staff member. In order to do this I am contacting other people in the field to help out and relying on my field contacts to leverage as much help and expertise as I can.

I also help out co-workers at the Collins Center with projects they need assistance on as well. The Collins Center has some prolific academics and researchers, and I get to help them out with some of their research from time to time. I also have made Power Point presentations for their academic presentations at Conferences in Atlanta and Vienna. So that is always fun.

Overall, Im busy with stuff and I am oftentimes away from my desk doing the community organizing gig. I wish I had more people working with me on these projects because I can’t do it all myself. I’ve been pressuring the Collins Center to hire an intern for their website,, so that its content can be broadened, but it’s hard to get someone to work hard down here for $10/hour. Oh well.

Comment from Morgan Sully on October 2, 2007 - 3:02pm

Hey Kevin,
just glanced over your report and thought of a few things.

Last year as a VISTA i set up a website with a searchable, Google mappified database (accessible publicly) of San Diego CTCs. Took quite some tweaking, but i soon got a workable database and had it all housed in CivCRM. i could help you out a bit with setting it up or at least consult with you and Victoria if you need. I did pretty much exactly what you are doing. Key thing is to HAVE CLEAN DATA.

Also, as far as social networking sites, offers and EXCELLENT and EASY interface for creating your OWN social networking sites and can even be given it's own URL for you to brand it with your org. My org has already utilized it to set up their own site for participants in these leadership institutes.

Anyone familiar with myspace can set one up - SUPER EASY.

Looks like you've got quite a lot of awesome work ahead of you. Myself and a few friends in San Diego were involved with work like you - getting MUNIWIFI can be quite an involved and LONG process - stick with it. I'm forwarding your post to my friend in SD who may or may not be able to offer some insight if you need it.


Comment from Kevin Bulger on October 2, 2007 - 3:39pm

What is CivCRM?

What we want to do is make a button where you can enter your zip code and a list of labs will show up with info about the labs (such as service provided, contact info, etc.). We want this button to be able to be featured on multiple websites/webpages.

We've got someone willing to design it for us, but we have to wait on them to program it.

Ning is an option we are considering.