I should have done this a long time ago or "Confessions of a Technology Plebian"

Well, officially I am a waste of life as this is my very first field report! What took so long you may ask? Truth be told, I just really wanted to build the anticipation level to a high before instilling my wisdom upon future generations.

Honestly, I've spent a lot of the last five months(!) getting used to a new city and a work environment so there hasn't been a whole lot of opportunity to "stop and reflect", so to speak. I figure that a new year presents a good chance for me to put in perspective what I've been involved with and, also, what lies ahead.

I came to A Home Within, my organization, with a pretty vague idea of what I would be doing, and the job description I was provided with didn't really help, something along the lines of "help implement Salesforce, increase our technology capacities, do our laundry etc." But, if I wanted to go down a really specific job path, I wouldn't have joined the VISTA project.

After the proper introductions, it didn't take long for the people in my small office to realize my dirty little secret: that I am not a technology guru. I'm not even a tech apprentice, I'm more like, let's say a "tech plebian" i.e. I know how to use some stuff but I'm not gonna be teaching classes anytime soon. Anyways, what began after that was a protracted, but healthy process of cross pollination between the needs of my organization and the skills that I "bring to the table". (I don't know if its necessary to use quotation marks around everything but I'm doing it so that if something I write falls short you will know that it once existed in a different, more appropriate context). What skills, do you ask? Well:

I can read (if the font's big and there's a lot of pictures)
I can change a tire pretty quickly
I can make pretty strong coffee
I used to be good at tennis
I've beaten Prince of Persia for MS-DOS!

Sorry. In all seriousness, being in the Bay Area has really helped in my seemingly neverending quest to implement Salesforce for my organization. My got the licenses a while back, but as some of you probably know, its not quite as simple as that. I spent about three months banging my head against a computer and cursing out online tutorials before we finally made some progress when I was able to get a volunteer from the Salesforce Foundation to help us design the platform. This happened in early December, and since then he and I have been working on the design and are aiming to have it be ready by late January!

I was also able to switch over our organization's web hosting to Google and we're working on internally developing a new website for our Fostering Art program. Speaking of which, one of the highlights of my time here at A Home Within has been helping out with the Fostering Art class, which is a digital photography program we host twice a week for former and current foster youth. Over the course of the semester we took several field trips to local arts organizations, did a couple of studio shoots, printed in a local darkroom, and help and end of semester exhibition highlighting the students' work. We're looking forward to expanding some of the curiculum this coming year to include a digital video workshop, along with hosting a large opening at a local gallery.

So, I guess my attempt at making a concise summary of my experience thus far has failed. Lets just say I have been making slow, but steady, progress in catching up to the tech curve, and I think things are finally on track for our organization to step into the 21st century and finally get rid of the little kid that rides the bike that powers our computers. I'd like to thank Matt, Morgan, and Josh for helping me along the way. I wouldn't be here today if it wern't for them (well that's a lie, but I may have been committed by now). I also want to say "hi Mom!". Keep on fighting poverty, or at least live in it.

Be seeing you!