Help Yourself

26 09 2008

Maria and I have really felt called lately to get more involved with helping the homeless.  We decided to hook up with Good Works in Athens, Ohio. In their own words Good Works is:

“A community of hope for those struggling with poverty in rural Appalachia. We provide biblical hospitality through The Timothy House (our shelter for the rural homeless), The Hannah House (our long term residential care-community), job experience programs, creative volunteer service opportunities and community development ministries in the context of Christian Community.”

Last Friday, Maria and I took a tour of their grounds and got a brief overview of what they do.  I was amazed at all the programs they have and how they are able to do so much with so little.  However what really impressed me was their philosophy and approach to how they serve.  The very people they serve are the ones who maintain the GW mission.  For instance, GW has car donation program.  If a person wants to recieve a car from GW, they need to earn 24 points.  You earn points by spending an afternoon maintaining the grounds, serving at one of the houses or working one of the many other programs they have.  Instead of being a place where people can come and find help, they can come and find how they can help themselves.  This is a much less degrading process, and shows the individuals that they can take control and responsibility of their own lives.

The more I thought about this, the more I realized that this is what social media is all about.  Helping people help themselves.  No longer are we dependent on “experts” to explain how things work, we now have the power to discover on our own with the help of other people just like us.  Again, this has become a less degrading process and has encouraged a whole new generation of responsible consumers.

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Right infront of our eyes

1 11 2007

It’s official… I’ve gone corporate. I woke up this morning in Columbus, drove to Athens for five hours of class (and a half our meeting with my banker… can anyone spare some change?) and now I find myself sitting in the on the eighth floor of the Marriott Hotel in St. Louis, Mo.  I’ve heard it was a bad thing to be working for “the man,” but when that man is Bob Evans, I feel alright about it…

On my flight it, I was discussing with Mike, (my supervisor) different ideas on how to utilize new media at Bob’s.  I’m  managing two blogs for us now, one for employees and another to let people know about new store opening (look out Marysville), but of course we’re always looking at new strategies.

I asked Mike what he knew about facebook, and he said he all he knows is basically what his high school/middle school daughters  do on it; check friends profiles, message, post pictures, things like that.

When I started thinking about that, I realized that many my age are still using it for that base level as well.  Now there is nothing wrong with that, don’t get me wrong, it’s essentially it’s purpose.  However, we have not crossed the boundary yet of expanding our social networking capabilities outside of stalking friends and not-so good friends.  We’re allegedly the one’s pushing the envelope to this brave new world, but in my collegiate experience, I really never came across such sites like twitter, technorati, del.icio.us or flickr.

Jeremy Pepper made mention of how Auburn is starting to teach classes on the subject.  I hope for Scripps sake we’ll catch on… quickly

In college, the world can seem small, especially in a town like Athens.  You throw facebook in the mix, and it seems we just need to look out the window to see our neighbors from across the country.  However the growing reality that I’m coming to is outside of the University bubble, the world is more vast than I could ever imagine, and that I need to use every thing possible to be heard.