Article for PTD Digest


Erin Taylor asked me to write a little something for the upcoming VISTA digest... here is what I submitted (a sneak preview!):

You would think creating a new media literacy series would be easy enough. There are enough of them out there. Thus, when I was asked as a brand new VISTA to create a new media literacy curriculum for Project: Think Different, I figured I would just quote some Noam Chomsky and maybe throw in some media statistics and get something at least presentable together. The task seemed simple.

But, (there is always a “but”) I needed to make the curriculum accessible to teens. Boston teens. Boston teens living in the neighborhoods in which teenage death rates are the highest, in which an attraction to hip-hop music and commercial materialism are identifying aspects of the youth culture, and in which young people are most likely to be portrayed in the news media in relation to situations of crime and violence. Clearly these are the teens in the greatest need of media literacy awareness, but how in the world was a white, relatively affluent, punk, college-graduate female from Austin, Texas ever going to create something that actually works for these kids? Seeing as my first days in Boston included getting severely confused by public transportation, being shocked at how many people lacked innate kindness, and staring in disbelief at how the seemingly numerous Dunkin’ Donuts actually all had customers, the task seemed slightly daunting at best. How could I ever relate?

Comment from lauren bratslavsky on October 19, 2006 - 1:16pm

great article and what a great project!

Comment from Peter Miller on January 11, 2007 - 2:05pm

Colleen, I've been meaning post how incredibly thoughtful and intriguing I found your Digest article, too.  I've sent a version of my thoughts as a comment to the Digest – let me echo gariet and Bill's interests, too, and request to see the curriculum, but let me suggests, too, that this be put on the Digest site, too, at the very least, a link on how to get it. In addition to being interested in see the curriculum, I want to let you know how impressed I was by the vivid sense you convey about life on the streets and your quick introduction to and immersion in it, your description of Project Think Different's Mission and the initial project development, and the photo of the Media Watch Team.  Because it's so promising, do let me offer a couple of suggestions for your consideration. In contrast to the beginning of your piece, your description of the Media Action Series is outlined in somewhat rhetorical/ideological language. Some more immediate description along with a link to the series itself or at least how to request it -- surely this is the rousing conclusion one would hope to find to your work and that of the Media Watch Team and PTD.    This appears to be exactly the kind of model project that the CTC VISTA Project strives to support and to share as widely as possible and I hope you all can make the most of it for yourselves, too.  I look forward to learning more about this highly informative effort.  best, ----peter miller

Comment from Colleen Kelly on February 6, 2007 - 7:00pm

Blame it on being WAY TOO immersed in my work at PTD.

So, Peter - first off - thank you so much for your kind words concerning my Digest article. I appreciate it! Also, I am grateful for the more personal comment on my writing.

As for linking to the curriculum in the article, I can't really re-write the article, but I can put a link for you here -


There it all is in a zip folder that you can download. I will blog about it soon. The stress of PTD has kept me a tad busy.


Three weeks in


Well, I've finally moved into my own place.  After three weeks of bags and boxes, I was able (with much appreciated help from Danielle and Ben) to move my stuff into this great house in Arlington.  Great except that it was completely unfurnished and entirely empty, so my first night I made a bed of blankets on the hardwood floor; of course, I'd had the foresight to buy an air mattress it was just the batteries I needed to inflate it that I'd forgotten, so hardwood floor it was.  My roommates have since moved in, and I have a bed on the way, so things are now looking up.  

Comment from Rebecca White on October 3, 2006 - 1:22am

Hah! "Ackronyms" is exactly it... the thirties never ended, it's still alphabet soup out there (um, maybe that only makes sense to me: New Deal agencies). Also, your house sounds fun!

Leading by example...sort of


After a spent the week trying to catch up with all the VISTAs under my care, encouraging them all to blog and read the blogs, I realized I haven't really blogged myself.  What AM I working on?  Well the first three weeks as an official VISTA leader has been a lot about finding a balance between two new roles. 

Role 1 : VISTA Leader at CTC VISTA Project at UMass Boston

This role was a little easier to figure out, since I've got the Project pretty much figured out by now.  In fact, most of these first three weeks have been about helping the Project HQ staff get on the same page and think strategically about where the Project wants to go.  I hosted a little strategic planning retreat at my new apartment in Medford, where we compared assumptions, knowledge of the Project and whittled it all down into some concrete goals and actions for the Project.  Most of the fall will be consumed with populating the new CTC VISTA resource portal and putting the Digest together with Erin.

The Digest Fall '06 : the CTC VISTA Project Newsletter


Digest header




As the air gets colder in Boston, it's that time once again...the Digest is coming, the Digest is coming. Here's some details:


The Digest, as the newsletter is known, is a Project specific publication based on the content we used to produce in the professional journal, the Community Technology Review (which is now on hiatus indefinitely). CTR was filled with contributions from all volunteer authors as well but had much longer pieces and was printed. There also used to be a tiny newsletter produced by VISTA leaders.