The Rapidian

New media project aims to elevate neighborhood voices

Four media workshops will introduce a new project to help the people of Grand Rapids by providing access to modern media at the neighborhood level.
Knowing how to craft a good story is important for nonprofits.

Knowing how to craft a good story is important for nonprofits. /CMC Education

Underwriting support from:
The first Lunch and Learn will be at Grand Rapids Community Foundation

The first Lunch and Learn will be at Grand Rapids Community Foundation /GRCF

Elevating Voices, an innovative new community media project, is coming to the neighborhoods of Grand Rapids. The project is headed by the Grand Rapids Community Media Center (CMC) and will teach nonprofits of all types and sizes how to create and distribute new media content that will represent the people of Grand Rapids.

The introductory phase of Elevating Voices starts next week with the first of four "lunch and learn" style workshops. Two more phases will lead to more customized and effective media knowledge and a storytelling project for up to 10 local qualifying nonprofit organizations, followed by the selection of four to six nonprofit organizations for media production hubs in their own neighborhoods.

Project Manager Wayne Glatz describes the introductory workshops as part media literacy and part communication strategy.

"Nonprofits that come to the workshops will learn ways to improve their storytelling skills and more effectively reach the people and organizations they serve," says Glatz.

Starting on Tuesday, March 25, nonprofit groups can learn about Elevating Voices at the first of four different hour long workshops that will instruct neighborhood groups in ways to use media tools to empower the people in their own neighborhoods. The sessions are scheduled in different parts of the city in an effort to assure access to all neighborhood groups. Each of the introductory presentations will cover the same material, so interested organizations will need to attend only one of the meetings. Participants are invited to bring their own lunch; beverages and dessert will be provided by the hosting organizations and CMC.

Roberta King, Vice President of PR and Marketing for Grand Rapids Community Foundation said they’re excited to host the first workshop.

“We believe that for a community to be inclusive the voices of all citizens deserve to be heard," says King. "The Community Media Center has been devoted to this for many years. Grand Rapids Community Foundation has been a partner with the CMC for this very reason.”

Each workshop will take place from noon to 1 p.m. 

Nonprofits interested in learning more can make a reservation for one of the four Elevating Voices media workshops here:

Tuesday March 25: GR Community Foundation (185 Oakes St SW)

Tuesday April 15: Steepletown Neighborhood Services (671 Davis Ave NW)

Monday April 21: Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities (644 Grandville Ave SW)

Friday May 2: Baxter Community Center (935 Baxter St SE)

The workshops will also provide an introduction to the bigger scope of Elevating Voices, which has three successive phases. Organizations who attend one of these introductory workshops will be eligible to apply for Phase Two of Elevating Voices. The second phase will focus on carrying out a story collecting project. Individuals and groups will share their unique and inspiring stories via video through modern and traditional mass communication channels, including the local cable TV station GRTV, The Rapidian's Story Matters Project, YouTube and Vimeo.

The third phase will lead to the establishment of up to six Neighborhood Media Hubs, where customized communication plans will be created, using equipment and expertise provided by Community Media Center. People in the neighborhoods around these media hubs will then have access to all the equipment and expertise of the CMC, right in their own neighborhoods.

The mission of Elevating Voices is to empower diverse communities with the tools, training and means of distribution needed to tell their stories. Through this program, the CMC will share their media expertise with diverse organizations that are committed to reducing social inequities and addressing the real communication needs of the people of this city by providing actual solutions to communication barriers.

For more information, send an email or visit our Facebook page.

The CMC is a community-based nonprofit organization which leverages modern media and technology to positively impact communities, residents and local initiatives. Services include GRTV, WYCE 88.1 FM, Wealthy Theatre, The Rapidian, media education and IT and web and app development services.

This project of the Community Media Center (CMC) is made possible by a grant from W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

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