The First Week


So it begins again.

My VISTA position here at Chicago Access Network Television ( is actually my second year as a VISTA? Why did I sign up again? Did I just enjoy living in poverty THAT much? Let's just say that the combination of public service and media work was just too tempting for me to resist.

Comment from Bill Brown on August 4, 2010 - 2:21pm

Welcome Mike! You worked at a place called the Volunteer Center for your first VISTA year? Where was it and what did you do? Did you know about the DASCorps last year?

Comment from Michael Ewing on August 4, 2010 - 4:32pm

Hey Bill-

Last year I worked at The Volunteer Center of Northwest Suburban Chicago (or TVC, in abbreviation-speak)as a VISTA. As you may have guessed, TVC is a non-profit located in Chicago's northwest suburbs, with a service area that encompasses some 53 communities in the region. My job as a VISTA and "Communications and Outreach Coordinator" (a title I invented myself) was to help develop TVC's marketing and communications activities. As a small non-profit, they had no marketing to speak of, so I spent my time doing everything from developing their social media and redesigning their website to leading the production of a print insert in the local newspaper and press releases. Let's just say I was a little bit busy last year.

I found out about DASCorps through one of my late-night job searches through Google. Google really is the go-to for all the best things in life. I was really impressed to learn about DASCorps, especially since I'd been thinking of starting a similar organization myself. When I saw the position here at CAN TV, right in my backyard, I couldn't resist.

Comment from Bill Brown on August 5, 2010 - 10:32am

Cool - it sounds like you were doing some DASCorps-like projects last year as well. Well, I'm excited to hear how your year develops - and I'll try to connect you with other DASCorps members that might be working on the same type of projects as you.

Comment from Ben Sheldon on September 2, 2010 - 11:03am

Hi Michael, I hope your first month with the Digital Arts Service Corps was better than your first month without us :-) I hope we're able to share our knowledge and community with you and better support you in your second year of service. Also, if you're interested in nerding out, I have some friends who run a community computer recycling program and they are always looking for volunteers:

Passing on our knowledge


 CTC VISTA ProjectOur year's coming to a close, and not all of us are staying on with the CTC VISTA Project, but wouldn't it be nice if we could pass on our wisdom to the incoming class?

Comment from Elizabeth Goussetis on July 6, 2009 - 6:59pm

Great idea Denise! We should be leaving our breadcrumb trails of wisdom for the incoming CTC VISTAs wherever possible. FYI, my Tweets are coming from the account I run for my VISTA project, since I don't have a personal Twitter. I'm @CincyYouthTV.

Advice for new CTC VISTAs


The CTC VISTA Project's Pre- Service Orientations is the only time during the year when all of our new VISTAs will be in one place together. Passing on any knowledge the current CTC VISTAs have is important.

Please leave your additions in the comments or if you would like to remain anonymous, email them to me.

Comment from Laura Hanley on June 6, 2007 - 6:42pm

Find a doctor!! Seriously folks, I can't stress it enough. If you relocated for your project like I did, or even if not and you don't have a GP or a family doctor, find one you can go to should the need arise. has a search tool (Provider Network link on the left navigation menu) that makes the process relatively simple, provided there are providers in your area. Always, ALWAYS call to double check any information I have found out - the hard way - is not always correct. Had I found a doctor when I got to San Diego, I wouldn't have spent 4 hours in a hospital for an ear infection, gone on a wild goose chase in search of an urgent care center that would accept our benefits (resulting in my going to said hospital), wasted precious gas, and saved myself tremendous amounts of frustration. (You can read about it here or here if you're interested in details.) But really, remember to eat, sleep, and take care of yourself so you don't have to see a doctor at all!

Nonprofit Technology Sandwich


Nonprofit Technology Sandwich

A Simple Reminder


A local organization here in San Diego, called Nonprofit Management Solutions, offers management and technology consulting, training, and information resources to nonprofit organizations. On Tuesday I attended a workshop on Customer Service Skills. Most of the concepts we covered were common sense and things I had heard before, but it always helps to be refreshed. One of my favorite things that I took away from the workshop was the idea to create a clear vision of your organizations goals, if they do not already exist. Then you are supposed to read this vision everyday for 21 days (apparently the number of days it takes for you to really learn something/commit to memory) and it will help you maintain your focus, and allows you to better serve your orgs community.