I’ve been living and working on the Downtown Eastside, Vancouver’s inner city, for more than a decade now, and when you live here that long it’s impossible not to want to give back to the community in a meaningful way. Since I’m not really in a position to give jobs, food, or shelter (except to my friends during their couch-surfing phases), the least I can do is give what I give best: training.
I really believe in the power of the Digital Revolution to level the playing field. On the internet, nobody knows you’re using the computer at the library because you can’t afford one of your own. They don’t know what colour you are. They don’t know if you’re rich, poor, smart, crazy, important, or glorious unless you tell them, and for people used to being judged and dismissed for their appearance or their social class, this is true freedom, often after a lifetime of marginalization.
That is why, ever since I began teaching social media I’ve reserved two spots in each class for people who cannot possibly afford to attend a class on their own. Good social media training is not cheap, and I’m near the top of the price range in Canada (but god, I’m worth it!). And it’s a privilege to be able to give this training to people who would be shut out by other training organizations. That’s not just a moral principle: with very few exceptions, the real prodigies come from the most downtrodden groups, for reasons I still haven’t pinned down. If you want to teach people who are more likely to become the Mozart of social media, teach the poor. Some of my students have gone on to international reputations, and I couldn’t be prouder of them.
The nitty-gritty details:
- prospective students have to be referred to me by an agency they’re working with or their worker at the Ministry. This means you must be unemployed, or employed but making less than $610 per month. I didn’t get into this to empower the middle class, baby!
- the agency is responsible for referring only people who are ready for a small classroom situation where they will do a fair bit of exploring on their own. The more self-directed they are, the better, generally speaking.
- the seats don’t become available until we’ve got at least two paying clients, for obvious reasons. Until then, the scholarship students go on a waiting list which may be rolled over to the next time the class is offered, if it doesn’t get any paying students.
If you’re someone who thinks they’re a great candidate for some of the Social Media classes we’ve got scheduled, have your worker or consultant drop me a line at bloggingclasses at gmail dot com so I can get in touch with them. If you’re an agency who would like to get your clients into my classes on a regular or semi-regular basis, do the same. I hate for those spaces to remain empty.
*note that due to unforseen circumstances, there are no scholarship places available for Social Media for Nonprofits this time around. That may change in the future*
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